Who is Barbara Starr? CNN Pentagon reporter's phone and email records were secretly obtained by Trump govt

The Trump administration sought records of Starr's Pentagon phone extension, the CNN Pentagon booth phone number and her home and cellphone records


                            Who is Barbara Starr? CNN Pentagon reporter's phone and email records were secretly obtained by Trump govt
Barbara Starr's phone and email were tapped into by Donald Trump administration (CNN/Getty Images)

CNN's senior correspondent's phone and email records were obtained by former president Donald Trump's administration last year, CNN’s Jessica Schneider reported on Thursday, May 20. The shocking news comes two weeks after The Washington Post revealed that last year,  the Justice Department had seized phone records belonging to three current and former journalists.

CNN stated that the Justice Department informed Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr in a May 13, 2021, letter that it had obtained phone and email records covering a two-month period between June 1 and July 31, 2017.

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Barbara Starr (CNN)

“CNN strongly condemns the secret collection of any aspect of a journalist’s correspondence, which is clearly protected by the First Amendment,” CNN president Jeff Zucker said in a statement published by the network. “We are asking for an immediate meeting with the Justice Department for an explanation.” 

The Department of Justice confirmed that the records were formally sought in 2020, though it didn't expose anything else about the investigation and what it might pertain to. CNN said that in the two-month period listed in the letter, Starr's investigative story included stories on Syria and Afghanistan and coverage of US military options in North Korea that were being offered to Trump.

“The records at issue relate to 2017 and the legal process to seek these records was approved in 2020,” Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said in a statement. “Department leadership will soon meet with reporters to hear their concerns about recent notices and further convey Attorney General (Merrick) Garland’s staunch support of and commitment to a free and independent press.”

Barbara Starr (CNN)

CNN stated that the letter was signed by John Demers, the assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department's national security division, and Raj Parekh, the acting US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. The letter indicated that the Trump administration sought records of Starr's Pentagon phone extension, the CNN Pentagon booth phone number and her home and cellphone records. The government also said that they received “non-content information” from Starr's emails, which would include details about the senders and recipients but not the actual content of the communications.

Who is Barbara Starr?

Born on September 11, 1950, Starr works as CNN's Pentagon correspondent, based in Washington, DC, and appears regularly on 'The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer', 'New Day' and other shows across the network regularly breaking big news and delivering exclusive coverage on the US military and political situation on a global scale. Throughout her career, Starr has made repeated trips to Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa and has reported twice from Syria.

Starr graduated with a degree in journalism from the California State University, Northridge. From 1979 to 1988, she worked as a correspondent for Business Week magazine, where she covered energy matters. She then joined news magazine Jane's Defence Weekly from 1988 to 1997 covering national security and defense policy. Later, she joined ABC News as a producer, covering the Pentagon, for which she won an Emmy Award.

Former president Donald Trump speaks about Operation Warp Speed in the Rose Garden at the White House on November 13, 2020, in Washington, DC (Getty Images)
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