Obama Administration Seizes AP Phone Records



Photo of Eric Holder

This next story is concerning if you care about the First Amendment.  The DOJ obtained a secret subpoena and using a very wide net in an investigation, seized two months of phone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press. AP executives called it a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into news organizations. The records undoubtedly include confidential sources. The AP had no warning.

They obtained the records for 20 separate phone lines. More than 100 journalists work in the offices where the targeted phone lines are housed and they could all potentially have been affected.

It is more than is ever seized in an investigation.

The AP wants the records back and all copies destroyed.

The DOJ has not said exactly why they did it but they claimed it is connected to an investigation of leaks.

The AP conjectured:

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 provided 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.

In testimony in February, CIA Director John Brennan noted that the FBI had questioned him about whether he was AP’s source, which he denied. He called the release of the information to the media about the terror plot an “unauthorized and dangerous disclosure of classified information.”

Five reporters and an editor involved in this story were among those whose phone numbers were obtained.

Read about it at the Big Story.ap.org