The letter this week disclosing the seizure of telephone data involving the Times reporters — Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eric Lichtblau and Michael S. Schmidt — had hinted on the existence of the separate battle over knowledge that might present whom that they had been involved with over e-mail.

The letters stated the federal government had additionally acquired a courtroom order to grab logs of their emails, however “no records were obtained,” offering no additional particulars. But with the lifting of the gag order, Mr. McCraw stated he had been freed to elucidate what had occurred.

Prosecutors within the workplace of the United States legal professional in Washington had obtained a sealed court order from a Justice of the Peace decide on Jan. 5 requiring Google to secretly flip over the data. But Google resisted, apparently demanding that The Times be advised, as its contract with the corporate requires.

The Justice Department continued to press the request after the Biden administration took over, however in early March prosecutors relented and requested a decide to allow telling Mr. McCraw. But the disclosure to him got here with a nondisclosure order stopping him from speaking about it to different individuals.

Mr. McCraw stated it was “stunning” to obtain an e-mail from Google telling him what was going on. At first, he stated, he didn’t know who the prosecutor was, and since the matter was sealed, there have been no courtroom paperwork he may entry about it.

The subsequent day, Mr. McCraw stated, he was advised the title of the prosecutor — a profession assistant United States legal professional in Washington, Tejpal Chawla — and opened negotiations with him. Eventually, Mr. Chawla agreed to ask the decide to switch the gag order so Mr. McCraw may talk about the matter with The Times’s common counsel and the corporate’s exterior legal professionals, after which with two senior Times executives: A.G. Sulzberger, the writer, and Meredith Kopit Levien, the chief govt.

“We made clear that we intended to go to court to challenge the order if it was not withdrawn,” Mr. McCraw stated. Then, on June 2, he stated, the Justice Department advised him it might ask the courtroom to quash the order to Google on the identical time that it disclosed the sooner telephone data seizure, which he had not recognized about.


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