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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. Read more