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Posts Tagged ‘Department of Justice’

AP CEO Lists Five Ways to Ensure Freedom of The Press

Gary Pruitt, the Associated Press’ president and CEO, has had about enough of the government. After the Justice Department secretly obtained two months worth of phone records from AP reporters and editors, Pruitt now says that government sources are scared to talk to reporters. “The government may love this,” Pruitt added, during a speech at the National Press Club. “I suspect that they do, but beware the government that loves secrecy too much.”

In an effort to nudge the government toward a less creepy lifestyle, Pruitt also announced five measures that could ensure freedom of the press. Here’s a brief summary of his ideas: 1) The press should be able to respond to any request of information before its taken 2) There should be judicial oversight when anything is requested 3) The DOJ’s guidelines need updated 4) A federal shield law that protects journalists should be implemented and 5) A formal rule should be made of the guideline that the DOJ will not prosecute any journalist for being a journalist.

It’s a nice list. Now if only the government would heed Pruitt’s advice.

See below for Pruitt’s full statements on the measures.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: DOJ Targeted Fox News | Voice Writers Quit | Karp Nets $250 Million


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Fox News: ‘We Will Unequivocally Defend’ Rosen Against ‘Chilling’ DOJ Investigation (TVNewser)
Fox News executive VP of news Michael Clemente released the following statement on Monday to TVNewser with regard to James Rosen being targeted by the Department of Justice: “We are outraged to learn [Monday] that James Rosen was named a criminal co-conspirator for simply doing his job as a reporter. In fact, it is downright chilling. We will unequivocally defend his right to operate as a member of what up until now has always been a free press.” FishbowlNY According to court documents, the DOJ used Rosen’s Justice Department security badge to watch when he came and went from the State Department, acquired a search warrant for his personal emails, and monitored his phone calls with a government advisor suspected of leaking intelligence. The New Yorker / News Desk Rosen was not charged with any crime, but it is unprecedented for the government, in an official court document, to accuse a reporter of breaking the law for conducting the routine business of reporting on government secrets. TVNewser The AP made waves last week after it was revealed that the DOJ targeted the personal and professional phone lines of hundreds of journalists in an apparent attempt to determine who leaked information. Slate They’re going after him not as a witness to a crime — nor as a pressure tactic to get him to give up his source (in this case, the source has already been caught) — but rather, in the words of a Justice Department affidavit, as “an aider, an abettor, and/or a co-conspirator.” In short, as someone who might be indicted under the Espionage Act. This has never happened in this country. (Even in the Pentagon Papers case, several newspapers were served injunctions not to publish stories, but no reporter or editor was ever investigated, much less tried, as a co-conspirator.) If the prosecutors go through with their threat, the entire enterprise of national security journalism — which inherently involves uncovering secrets, to some degree — will be in jeopardy. Politico / Politico 44 White House press secretary Jay Carney wouldn’t comment Monday on the ongoing national security leaks case involving Rosen, after a weekend news report detailing the Justice Department’s surveillance of him. “I can’t comment on an ongoing criminal investigation, nor should I,” Carney said in response to one of several questions on the case, offering a similar answer each time.

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Justice Department Spied on Fox News Reporter

The Department of Justice is making journalists feel like Rockwell — somebody’s definitely watching them. We already know that the DOJ secretly seized phone records from Associated Press reporters and editors. Now The Washington Post reports that in 2009, the feds also spied on James Rosen — Fox News’ chief Washington correspondent.

According to court documents, the DOJ used Rosen’s Justice Department security badge to watch when he came and went from the State Department, acquired a search warrant for his personal emails, and monitored Rosen’s phone calls with a government advisor suspected of leaking intelligence.

After reviewing the information, the DOJ said that Rosen had broken the law “at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator.” But all Rosen did was what reporters do: Report.

Fortunately the First Amendment makes prosecuting Rosen impossible, but the fact that he was even accused of doing something wrong shows that the government is willing to strong-arm journalists and use scare tactics to keep them away. We’re fans of President Obama, but this is outrageous. Somebody’s watching alright, and it’s him giving the orders to do so.

Morning Media Newsfeed: Gov’t Defends AP Snoop | Apple Denies Collusion | Sambolin Has Cancer


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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.” Read more

Morning Media Newsfeed: Gov’t Defends AP Snoop | Apple Denies Collusion | Sambolin Has Cancer


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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.”

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Gov’t Spies on AP | Bloomberg Snoop Leaked | Brothers Dies


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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

Morning Media Newsfeed: Gov’t Spies on AP | Bloomberg Snoop Leaked | Brothers Dies


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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.

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