CBS News “crossed a red line” when it seized her reporting records, veteran investigative journalist Catherine Herridge says.  

Herridge testified before Congress Thursday in support of legislation to protect journalists and their sources. Her testimony comes about two months after CBS News fired Herridge as senior investigative correspondent and seized her files.  

“CBS News locked me out of the building and seized hundreds of pages of my reporting files, including confidential source information,” Herridge told the House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution and limited government.  

“Multiple sources said they were concerned that by working with me to expose government corruption and misconduct, they would be identified and exposed,” she testified. “I pushed back, and with the public support of my union, SAG-AFTRA, the records were returned” by CBS News. 

A report from the New York Post indicates that CBS News may have fired Herridge after nearly five years with the network because she was reporting details of the Hunter Biden laptop story. In addition to reporting on that, she also was following up on special counsel Robert Hur’s report citing President Joe Biden’s failing memory.

As The Hill put it, “She was pursuing stories that were unwelcomed by the Biden White House and many Democratic powerhouses.” 

The broadcast journalist, who previously spent 23 years at Fox News Channel, testified that her termination by CBS News came the same month she was “held in contempt of court for refusing to disclose my confidential sources on a national security story.” 

A judge ordered Herridge to reveal a source for her report on a Chinese-American scientist. Her refusal to reveal the source placed her at the center of a major First Amendment case and led her to be a staunch advocate for the proposed Protect Reporters from Exploitative State Spying Act, or the PRESS Act.  

“The bipartisan PRESS Act … would put an end to this sort of legal jeopardy that I have experienced firsthand in the federal courts,” Herridge told subcommittee members. “And without the legislation, more journalists will run the uncertainty of the contempt gauntlet in the future. This legislation will provide protections for every working journalist in the United States now and for the next generation.” 

Specifically, the PRESS Act provides protections to reporters and sources, establishing barriers to prevent litigants and the federal government from obtaining a reporter’s files “except when there’s an imminent threat of violence, including terrorism, and in defamation cases,” she said.  

The House passed the bill in January. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the Senate may soon pass the bill and send it to Biden’s desk for his signature.  

“I hope that I am the last journalist who has to spend two years in the federal courts fighting to protect my confidential sources,” Herridge told members of Congress.