By JOSHUA FRANKENSTEINJUVENORE, Associated PressWASHINGTON — Damages of civil law violations may be sought against journalists who published material that could have damaged the reputation of the U.S. government and national security, civil rights groups said Thursday.
The groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, said the lawsuit could be filed in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
It would also seek unspecified punitive damages.
The lawsuit could force reporters to cover stories and conduct interviews that the government said could harm national security and public safety.
The suits are based on a federal law that bars journalists from publishing “classified information.”
The Associated Press has a policy against using classified information.
But in a separate case, the Associated Press was sued last year by a former national security official who said the AP’s reporting could have harmed the reputation and security of the country.