“The habits and language of clandestinity can intoxicate even its own practitioners.”--William Colby
WASHINGTON (AP)—The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative's top executive called a "massive and unprecedented intrusion" into how news organizations gather the news.
The records obtained by the Justice Department listed incoming and outgoing calls, and the duration of each call, for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP.
In all, the government seized those records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown but more than 100 journalists work in the offices whose phone records were targeted on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.
In a letter of protest sent to Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday, AP President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt said the government sought and obtained information far beyond anything that could be justified by any specific investigation. He demanded the return of the phone records and destruction of all copies.
"There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters. These records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the newsgathering activities undertaken by the AP during a two-month period, provide a road map to AP's newsgathering operations, and disclose information about AP's activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know," Pruitt said.
Derek Mead at Motherboard opines, “It's an almost unfathomably arrogant move. Right in the middle of a growing privacy shitstorm in Washington—which includes the IRS, NSA, and every other TLA you can imagine—the DoJ decided to notify one of the largest press agencies in the world that it had been spying on it.”
Ace asks, “But was this about national security—or was it about political embarrassment? Did the Administration take extraordinary steps to protect national security secrets, or to cover up yet another Benghazi-like massaging of talking points?”
One must assume the AP is sufficiently infuriated given the fact that they found out about the seizure on Friday but waited until Monday to release the story. Can you say “maximum impact?” Yep. They. Are. Pissed.
Maybe now the MSM will finally decide the Obama administration is worth investigating.
Truth is suppressed, not to protect the country from enemy agents, but to protect the government against the people.
Jay Carney says WH had no knowledge before today's press reports of Justice Dept attempt to obtain seek phone records of the AP reporters.
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) May 13, 2013
DOJ secretly spying on AP? Gee, imagine what they do to journalist who don't regularly fellate them.
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) May 13, 2013