CBS Seizes Materials Of Fired Journalist Who Was Investigating Hunter Biden

Screenshot: Face the Nation

CBS has come under fire for reportedly seizing the files, computers, and records of acclaimed investigative journalist Catherine Herridge.

Herridge, a veteran reporter covering national security and intelligence, was fired from CBS News earlier this month, a surprise casualty of the network’s layoffs considering her award-winning ability to provide breaking news and insider scoops.

According to the New York Post, the reporter had been investigating the Hunter Biden laptop scandal before she was fired and had “encountered roadblocks from higher-ups.”

In addition to the laptop investigation, Herridge had been covering the House impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, special counsel Robert Hur’s report on his handling of classified documents, and criminal charges against the First Son.

The former Fox News journalist is also in the midst of a First Amendment court case, in which she is protecting the identity of a source used for a report written in 2017 regarding a Chinese American scientist who was investigated by the FBI but never charged with wrongdoing.

Herridge is facing fines of up to $5,000 per day if she refuses to be interviewed under oath for the case, a situation critics have defined as an attack on free press principles.

RELATED: Hunter Biden’s Attorneys Argue Photo Used By Prosecutors As Evidence Of Drug Use Was Sawdust, Not Cocaine

Herridge Has Materials Seized

Jonathan Turley, a legal scholar and former analyst for CBS, wrote an op-ed column describing the situation currently befalling Herridge.

Citing confidential sources who are both current and former employees of the network, Turley explains that the seizing of a reporter’s materials has led to unrest at CBS headquarters.

“The timing of Herridge’s termination immediately raised suspicions in Washington,” Hurley wrote. “She was pursuing stories that were unwelcomed by the Biden White House and many Democratic powerhouses.”

What happened next should send a chill down the back of journalists working at, or considering working at, CBS.

“The network grabbed Herridge’s notes and files and informed her that it would decide what, if anything, would be turned over to her. The files likely contain confidential material from both her stints at Fox and CBS,” he said.

RELATED: Catherine Herridge Starts with CBS This Month — and People Are Still Upset

A Shocking Effort To Intimidate

Turley described the seizing of Herridge’s materials as “nothing short of shocking,” noting that “journalists are generally allowed to leave with their files” when parting ways with a media company.

It isn’t just Turley making the accusations. SAG-AFTRA, the CBS workers’ union, also accused the company of seizing her notes.

In a public statement, the union said that it “strongly condemns CBS News’ decision to seize Catherine Herridge’s reporter notes and research from her office, including confidential source information.”

They describe CBS’s actions as setting “a dangerous precedent for all media professionals and threatens the very foundation of the First Amendment.”

Herridge has yet to make a statement on the matter, though she did share the SAG-AFTRA statements in what appears to be a nod to their claims in the affirmative.

CBS News has denied the claims and told the Daily Mail that they planned to return the materials to their recently departed reporter.

“Catherine’s personal belongings were delivered to her home one week ago, and we are prepared to pack up the rest of her files immediately on her behalf – with her representative present as she requested,” a spokesperson for the network said.

That does seem to be a backhanded admission that her materials remain in her office and have done so for at least a week. Not to worry, however, as CBS promised that nobody has gone through her files and the office has remained inaccessible.

“We have respected her request to not go through the files, and out of our concern for confidential sources, the office she occupied has remained secure since her departure,” the spokesperson said.

Still, Turley’s sources convey a sense of fear and dread over the actions taken by CBS during this time.

One former CBS journalist contends that he had “never seen a seizure of records from a departing journalist, and that the move had sent a ‘chilling signal’ in the ranks of CBS.”

The controversy serves as a reminder of the importance of journalistic integrity and the need to protect the rights of reporters to pursue their work without fear of reprisal. CBS seems to have discarded that principle.

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Rusty Weiss has been covering politics for over 15 years. His writings have appeared in the Daily Caller, Fox... More about Rusty Weiss

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