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U.S. Government Secretly Obtained AP's Phone Records

By - Source: The Associated Press | B 10 comments

The government is possibly investigating how the Associated Press obtained information about a thwarted al-Qaida bombing in 2012.

The Associated Press said that the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records stemming from reporters and editors. These records consist of more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012, and include the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters. So far the government has not stated why it has obtained those records.

"The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown, but more than 100 journalists work in the offices where phone records were targeted, on a wide array of stories about government and other matters," the Associated Press states.

AP President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt sent a letter of protest to Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday, demanding the return of phone records and the destruction of all copies. He said the Justice Department "sought and obtained information far beyond anything that could be justified by any specific investigation".

"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 seized records may stem from a criminal investigation conducted by the U.S. attorney in Washington regarding information contained in a May 7, 2012, AP story about a foiled terror plot. This story revealed details of a Yemen-based CIA operation that stopped al-Qaida's Spring 2012 plot to detonate a bomb on an airplane bound for the United States.

The Associated Press said that the Justice Department provided a notification of the seized records on Friday, and did not offer an explanation. These records were supposedly obtained from phone companies earlier this year. Five reporters and an editor who were involved in the May 7, 2012, story were part of the seized records, the Associated Press said.

"News organizations normally are notified in advance that the government wants phone records and then they enter into negotiations over the desired information," the Associated Press states. "In this case, however, the government, in its letter to the AP, cited an exemption to those rules that holds that prior notification can be waived if such notice, in the exemption's wording, might 'pose a substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation.'"

The full story can be read here.

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Top Comments
  • 11 Hide
    ddpruitt , May 15, 2013 8:25 AM
    Don't worry Tom's is safe.
    They'll only get raided if they need outdated records that everyone already knows about.
Other Comments
  • 11 Hide
    ddpruitt , May 15, 2013 8:25 AM
    Don't worry Tom's is safe.
    They'll only get raided if they need outdated records that everyone already knows about.
  • 6 Hide
    kawininjazx , May 15, 2013 8:31 AM
    Nice, only two days late. I have no idea how Obama has not been impeached (well I do we lost the press and half the people are brainwashed). We got the Benghazi cover up, the IRS targeting conservative groups, and now the wire tapping and this is just recently. And on all these stories, the administration lied about every account. It blows my mind that people still believe everything this man tells them. Plus, it doesn't help that people are more worried about who got voted off America Idol than what's going on in their own country.
  • Display all 10 comments.
  • -1 Hide
    MajinCry , May 15, 2013 8:33 AM
    @Kawin
    The president is a figure head. To think otherwise is to be naive.
  • 5 Hide
    tomc100 , May 15, 2013 8:50 AM
    I'm surprised Obama had to spy on the press. Most of them or their relatives work for this administration. All he really had to do was ask them for their records and they would have gladly given it to them. Chris Matthews, Diane Sawyer, and George Stephanopoulos all masturbate to his picture each morning.
  • 0 Hide
    curiosul , May 15, 2013 8:56 AM
    Majin, the sad part is that most people ARE naive (in the sense you described).
    It's called the illusion of choice (e.g. red vs. blue).
  • 2 Hide
    lunix , May 15, 2013 9:10 AM
    I'm always fascinated at how quickly ANY discussion that has remotely political aspects gets drawn into a red vs blue rant collection.
    I'm less amazed at the short memory of the ranters... EVERY presidency had its share of scandals. You only get fired if you're as crass as Nixon (who also got away with other things before Watergate).
    Apart from that, and in this particular case: who do you think created this current environment in which all rules go out the window as soon as terrorists are concerned?
    "Ey boss, we can't really seize all these phone records just like that." "Course we can, we're on a terrorist hunt here!"
    "Hey boss, we shouldn't cavity-search every guy with a beard..." "Shut up, we're securing the homeland!"
  • -1 Hide
    buzzrattie , May 15, 2013 1:34 PM
    What about Benghazi, 4 Americans died, and all this administration can say is that it was a group of people protesting. How many times can they lie to us and get away with it? What difference does it make? Hillary made that statement when she testified. Does it make a difference? Are we going to wake up or get off our butts and do something about it? This country needs help, and we are the ones that need to stand up and do something.
  • -2 Hide
    ssdpro , May 15, 2013 3:19 PM
    Oh no, Benghazi propaganda... I can't believe Glenn Beck reads Tom's! The scandal there is the administration first reported intelligence that the mission was victim of a terrorist attack that spawned from a protest over a anti-Muslim video. The reality is it was a terrorist attack motivated by something else (idiotic reasons). It is awful either way. I do know if I was the Ambassador in Libya I would forgo the vacation and stay safe at the protected embassy in Tripoli where I belong.
    As for the phone records, if you are leaking national security secrets it doesn't matter if you are talking to a member of the media or talking to the Pope himself; you and they will get tapped and found.
  • 0 Hide
    dalethepcman , May 15, 2013 5:27 PM
    Wiretapping is big business for telcos governments and criminals (if you care to separate the three).
    After the wiretapping came forward, what are the odd's the government "hacked" the AP's twitter and posted the Obama white house bomb twee themselves? It's not like anyone ever gives out a password over the phone...
    "Just to feed the conspiracy trolls" :p 
  • 0 Hide
    cats_Paw , May 16, 2013 12:54 AM
    At some point, it becomes mainstream and noone even calles it conspiracy.
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