The Chicago Way – Obama Administration, DOJ, Seize Media Phone Records – Track Journalists and AP Reporters Phone Contacts…
Update 2: The White House Reponds - (Politico) — The White House has “no knowledge” of the Justice Department’s efforts to obtain phone records of Associated Press reporters and editors, press secretary Jay Carney said Monday. “Other than press reports, we have no knowledge of any attempt by the Justice Department to seek phone records of the AP,” he said in a statement. (link)
Update 1 : Eric Holder personally approved of wiretapping reporters - On Monday afternoon, the Associated Press reported that the U.S. Department of Justice had “secretly obtained two months of telephone records” from 20 phone lines assigned to reporters and editors from the global news organization. The shocking revelation comes on top of news that the IRS targeted conservative groups for special scrutiny. It will be harder for President Obama to pin the DOJ’s action on lower level bureaucrats, however, because requests to subpoena news organization records require the approval of Attorney General Eric Holder. (link)
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.
The government would not say why it sought the records. U.S. officials have previously said in public testimony that the U.S. attorney in Washington is conducting a criminal investigation into who may have leaked information contained in a May 7, 2012, AP story about a foiled terror plot. The story disclosed details of a CIA operation in Yemen that stopped an al-Qaida plot in the spring of 2012 to detonate a bomb on an airplane bound for the United States. (continue reading)