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Justice Dept. Defends Seizure of AP Phone Records (NYT)
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Tuesday defended the Justice Department’s sweeping seizure of telephone records of Associated Press journalists, describing the article by the AP that prompted a criminal investigation as among “the top two or three most serious leaks that I’ve ever seen” in a 35-year career. “It put the American people at risk, and that is not hyperbole,” he said in an apparent reference to an article on May 7, 2012, that disclosed the foiling of a terrorist plot by Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen to bomb an airliner. The Washington Post / Opinions The usual reason for keeping a subpoena secret is that the target would otherwise try to destroy documents. In this case, the AP could not have done so even if it wanted to, since the relevant records were in the possession of its phone service providers. Without even giving AP a chance to weigh in, we don’t see how the department could intelligently weigh its prosecutorial needs against this broad subpoena’s chilling effect on reporters and their sources. HuffPost / The Backstory Associated Press Washington bureau chief Sally Buzbee was among the journalists targeted in the Justice Department’s sweeping seizure of phone records that has drawn widespread condemnation from members of the media and free speech advocates, an AP spokeswoman confirmed to The Huffington Post. FishbowlNY The Department of Justice is trying to brush off the secret accessing of AP editors’ and reporters’ phone records. The agency already sent one bland letter to the AP about the incident, and Tuesday, it sent another. According to AP CEO and president Gary Pruitt, both letters from the DOJ basically said “Meh,” and not much else about the scary over-extension of the government. B&C Society of Professional Journalists president Sonny Albarado has condemned the Justice Department’s alleged secret collection of AP reporter and editor phone records and said it highlights the need for a federal shield law. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media The Associated Press Media Editors Association has joined other journalists in condemning the Justice Department’s seizure of Associated Press phone records, calling it part of the Obama administration’s “continuing witch hunt for leaks and whistleblowers.” TVNewser Fox News host Bill O’Reilly said this may be the least of President Obama’s worries. “I don’t think that’s going to amount to much,” O’Reilly said of the phone taps. “It looks like they went through the warrant process and they had authorization to look at these records — the Justice Department did. But President Obama, he’s got some problems now. He better start to get control of the situation because there’s a lot of stuff going on.”
Posts Tagged ‘Associated Press’
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Gov’t Obtains Wide AP Phone Records in Probe (The Associated Press / The Big Story)
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 outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP. The Guardian The AP’s president and chief executive officer, Gary Pruitt, sent a letter of protest to the attorney-general, Eric Holder. “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. HuffPost / The Backstory Though the DOJ did not give the AP a specific reason for the seizure, the dates of the phone calls it targeted offered a clear tell. On May 7, 2012, AP reporters Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo, citing anonymous sources, reported that the CIA had thwarted a plot by an al-Qaeda affiliate to “destroy a U.S.-bound airliner using a bomb with a sophisticated new design around the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden.” Politico Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren told Politico in an email that the DOJ’s seizure “sounds like a dragnet to intimidate the media,” not a criminal investigation. “What is stunning is the breadth of the seizure!” Van Susteren said. EFF While the government has not confirmed, the subpoenas appear to stem from an investigation into a government leak of information to the AP. This is not a sufficient excuse. Imagine if “Deep Throat,” the informant critical to Woodward and Bernstein’s investigation of the 1972 Watergate burglary, knew that his identity could be obtained through legal process. His career, and perhaps his life, would have been in serious jeopardy, and a cautious individual would have kept silent. TVNewser Former CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier, now an intelligence and counterterrorism reporter for the AP, was one of the journalists who had their phone logs seized. Dozier was seriously injured in Iraq in 2006. She left CBS for the AP in 2010. FishbowlNY Sadly, the saying “If you’re not worried, you’re not paying attention” never seems more relevant than now.
Fairey was convicted of destroying documents, manufacturing evidence and other misconduct in association with his civil litigation against the Associated Press over a unlicensed image of Obama.
While the AP and Fairey settled their copyright case in 2011, the 42-year-old created fake documents and tried to delete several electronic documents, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara noted in a statement.
“The AP hopes that some good may come of this, by alerting judges and parties to the possibility that spoliation may exist,” said AP president and CEO Tom Curley.
Stealing is bad. Lying is worse.
The Associated Press announced today that they have reached a settlement with Obey Clothing over merchandise sold with the disputed image of Barack Obama from Shepard Fairey‘s HOPE poster. The artist Fairey reached a separate settlement with the AP in January.
The financial details of the settlement are confidential, but what is clear is that the AP will get a cut of merchandise sales in the future. The AP press release explains:
Pursuant to that agreement, the AP and Obey Clothing will collaborate to create and sell apparel using Shepard Fairey’s graphics based on photographs owned by the AP.
No reason to kill a cash cow.
Los Angeles artist Shepard Fairey and the Associated Press have reached a settlement over their legal battle over copyright infringement. As you may recall, Fairey was in hot water for using a copyrighted AP photo as the basis for his famous Barack Obama posters. From the release:
In settling the lawsuit, the AP and Mr. Fairey have agreed that neither side surrenders its view of the law. Mr. Fairey has agreed that he will not use another AP photo in his work without obtaining a license from the AP. The two sides have also agreed to work together going forward with the Hope image and share the rights to make the posters and merchandise bearing the Hope image and to collaborate on a series of images that Fairey will create based on AP photographs.
The $$$ part of the settlement is confidential, so we don’t know how much this is costing Fairey. But we’re looking forward to seeing the new work he creates with the AP!
The Associated Press is adopting a universal style for referring to all heads of state, including the United States. Effective Thursday at 3 a.m. EST, the AP will use the title and first and family names on first reference: President George W. Bush, not just President Bush; President-elect Barack Obama, not just President-elect Obama; President Nicolas Sarkozy, not just President Sarkozy.
And to put it in words fan boys can understand, it’s Adm. William Adama, not just Admiral Adama.
UPDATE: Leave it to geek boys to nitpick our nerd wit! We received this email and feel compelled to make a correction: “Adama is commander in chief and such, but actually Laura Roslin is head of state, as the president of the twelve colonies.”
Thanks for the info. Tell your mother you earned an extra cookie today. Nerd.
Joaquin Phoenix, if anyone didn’t hear him the first time, is making it clear that he’s had enough of the film biz
The Oscar-winning star of such films as “Gladiator,” “To Die For” and “Walk the Line” told Associated Press (this after, dumping it all on Extra last week) that he’s out and he’s in with music. He said he wants to use the musical aptitude he developed while learning to be Johnny Cash.
Phoenix will last be seen in “Two Lovers” opposite Gwyneth Paltrow.
Yes We Clicked Through The Entire Thing: The LAT has been reading our wish-book again, this time posting a picture-book-thingy about Matthew McConaughey’s predilection to show of his pecks. When we got to the last frame we were miffed to find a totally clothed Matt Damon, but then we played the little YouTube video and felt much better.
Desperate Times Call For Bizarre Sources: The Associated Press was so shut out of the Heath Ledger’s-parents-return-home story, that they made security guards their lede and were reduced to quoting a 58-year-old hospital catering supervisor.
Bush Mugs Elmo: On his way out of office, George Bush decided to kick a few 3-year-old in the face and announced plans to cut funds for public television and radio. Of course public broadcasting officials aren’t going to take that lying down. They’ll take it… sure, but they’ll be sitting upright, probably in their Eames chairs, when they do. (Before you write in, we know that the photo doesn’t match. But we were on such a roll of hotties this morning, we decided not to muck it up with a stupid Muppet’s mug. Or Elmo’s.)
The Associated Press just published a piece about how, despite the canceled Golden Globes dinner party, swag suites are still all the rage with celebrities. Which celebrities? Dunno. Apparently the AP didn’t think to ask.
If you smell sulfur in the air on Monday, don’t fret. It’s just TMZ fluttering through the airwaves.
The site that broke the Mel Gibson arrest and the Michael Richards comedy-club bigotry will stick its heavy fist into the crowded hole of celebutainment television shows, debuting, of course, on Fox.
Harvey Levin, managing editor of TMZ.com will exec produce the nightly half=hour shows and host. Because he’s just that pretty.
Levin told the Associated Press:
“It doesn’t feel like the other shows … We’re not sucking up (to stars). We’re not doing junkets. We’re not doing red carpets,” Levin said.
To which his competition answered: Ha!
Bring it on, said TMZ’s rivals, including sibling Telepictures entry Extra, returning for its 14th season Monday.
“The way I look at it, we’re in the limo with the stars. They’re chasing the limo,” said Lisa Gregorisch-Dempsey, Extra senior executive producer (and Levin’s former colleague on Celebrity Justice). “It’s a completely different point of view.”
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