US DOJ Spying Scandal on the Associated Press grows: Holder Ok’d Search Warrant for Fox News Reporter’s Private Emails.

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    May 13, 2013 10:23 PM GMT
    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/govt-obtains-wide-ap-phone-records-probe

    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. It was not clear if the records also included incoming calls or the duration of the calls.

    In all, the government seized the records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. 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.

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

    "There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters. 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.
  • musclmed

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    May 14, 2013 2:11 AM GMT
    scandal 3, in 1 week.
  • McAllister

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    May 14, 2013 2:22 AM GMT
    Sort of like the hound turning around and biting his own tail. Perhaps members of the press were not following their marching orders?
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    May 14, 2013 2:01 PM GMT
    Journalism groups, lawmakers voice ire at AP phone records seizure

    http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2013/05/14/Journalism-groups-lawmakers-voice-ire-at-AP-phone-records-seizure/UPI-67741368513000/#ixzz2TGJRuMs4
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    May 14, 2013 2:35 PM GMT
    http://openchannel.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/05/13/18234317-ap-calls-governments-record-seizure-a-massive-and-unprecedented-intrusion?lite

    The seizure of the phone records, disclosed earlier Monday by AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt, is the latest move in a series of high profile and controversial investigations of leaks of classified information by the Justice Department. In a letter of protest to Attorney General Eric Holder, Pruitt said obtaining more than two months of AP phone records on 20 separate telephone lines without prior notice was a "massive and unprecedented intrusion" into news-gathering operations.

    It also drew a swift rebuke Monday from members of Congress and freedom of the press watchdogs, one of whom called the move "Nixonian."
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    May 14, 2013 3:17 PM GMT
    Jon Stewart Sides With Conservatives, Destroys Obama on IRS & AP Scandals

    http://www.ijreview.com/2013/05/52244-jon-stewart-absolutely-skewers-incompetent-obama-administration-sides-with-conservatives/
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    May 14, 2013 5:52 PM GMT
    http://theweek.com/bullpen/column/244122/a-flood-of-scandals-engulfs-obama

    Just when he needed a sympathetic media to help downplay the politicization of the IRS and the rinsing of the Benghazi talking points (which Obama dismissed as "no there there" in a Monday press conference), the Associated Press announced that the Department of Justice had seized two months of phone records of as many as 100 of its reporters and three of its offices. The presumed trigger for this was a leak investigation into a May 2012 story about the CIA operation in Yemen that kept an airliner bomb plot from reaching fruition. Rather than alert the AP that it would subpoena the phone records, the DoJ seized them secretly, claiming that notifying the AP would "pose a substantial threat to the investigation" — even though the AP can't bury the records of the phone companies involved, even if it was inclined to try.

    Suddenly, conservative claims of active intimidation and pressure from the White House looked a lot less conspiratorial to the media. Erik Wemple at the Washington Post called the action "a dagger to the heart of AP's newsgathering activity." What source will trust that their identity will remain anonymous if the government can seize the phone records without warning? The ACLU called it "an unacceptable abuse of power," which is what conservative groups had called the IRS's attack on them for most of the past three years.

    What does the harmonic convergence of these stories tell us? First, it's clear that at the very least, this administration has allowed abuses of power to run unchecked for years — out of ignorance at best, and malice at worst. The extraordinary attack on the AP and its reporting may get the media's attention, but the attempt to massage the Benghazi attack through 12 sets of talking points and to allow the nation's tax power to harass and attack the administration's opponents present a at least as great an injury to accountability and representative democracy. Perhaps now that the media has also become a target for the administration, they might start taking these injuries a little more seriously.
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    May 14, 2013 5:57 PM GMT
    WTF???

    So wait a minute, theres that Libya embassy scandal, the IRS scandal, the Boston bombers where the Russians warned Obama up to two years earlier and now this with Obama spying on the news organization?
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    May 14, 2013 6:05 PM GMT
    CharleyChase90232 saidWTF???

    So wait a minute, theres that Libya embassy scandal, the IRS scandal, the Boston bombers where the Russians warned Obama up to two years earlier and now this with Obama spying on the news organization?


    the scarier part is that all these articles that I've posted have only shown up on the RSS feed today. It's going to get worse... There are other scandals brewing - e.g. EPA has apparently played favorites in only charging conservative groups for information that they give free to who they see as political allies (and this is on top of their use of private secret email addresses to conduct government business to avoid congressional oversight). Then there's healthcare...
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    May 14, 2013 11:04 PM GMT
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-usa-justice-apbre94c0zw-20130513,0,2384590.story

    U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Tuesday he did not make the controversial decision to secretly seize telephone records of the Associated Press but defended his department's actions in the investigation of what he called a "very, very serious leak."

    The decision to seek phone records of one of the world's largest news-gathering organizations was made by Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole, Holder said.

    Holder, speaking at a press conference, said he recused himself from the matter to avoid a potential conflict of interest because he was interviewed by the FBI as part of the same leak investigation that targeted the AP records.

    That seizure, denounced by critics as a gross intrusion into freedom of the press, has created an uproar in Washington and led to questions over how the Obama administration is balancing the need for national security with privacy rights.

    Combined with a separate furor over the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative political groups for extra scrutiny, it also is stoking fears of excessive government intrusion under President Barack Obama.

    The White House has said it had no advance knowledge of the IRS or Justice Department actions.

    Lawmakers from both parties on Tuesday criticized the Justice Department's decision to obtain the AP records. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called the action "inexcusable."
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    May 15, 2013 10:32 AM GMT
    Well, yes.


    Graham: Media wake to own shame

    http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/opinion/op_ed/2013/05/graham_media_wake_to_own_shame
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    May 15, 2013 10:33 AM GMT
    I'd say I'd be more concerned with respect to national security leaks... but it's a fine line when it comes to surveillance - especially warrantless surveillance...

    Why you should care about whistleblowers

    http://thelead.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/14/why-you-should-care-about-whistleblowers/
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    May 15, 2013 12:32 PM GMT
    http://www.nationaljournal.com/congress/democrats-in-triage-mode-on-white-house-scandals-20130514

    In the phone-records case, Democrats began to distance themselves from the White House on Tuesday.

    “I have trouble defending what the Justice Department did,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said.
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    May 15, 2013 12:40 PM GMT
    http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/299785-top-house-dem-wants-more-information-on-life-or-death-case

    Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said the Justice Department’s secret subpoena of two months worth of phone records from the Associated Press was “chilling.”

    As the ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Cummings called on U.S. Attorney Ron Machen to explain in more detail why the news organization’s information was key to the investigation.

    “It’s very chilling when the government reaches its hand into the press like this. It concerns me,” said Cummings in a brief interview off the House floor on Tuesday evening.

    “The D.C. U.S. Attorney has got to present as much evidence as possible without jeopardizing the case.
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    May 15, 2013 1:05 PM GMT
    Heh - this is kinda incredible and absurdly out of touch with reality - even for media mutters -


    MEDIA MATTERS: If the DOJ is investigating you, you probably deserve it, you hacks.
    http://mediamattersaction.org/message/onepagers/201305140001
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    May 15, 2013 1:08 PM GMT
    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/05/why-eric-holders-excuse-for-spying-on-reporters-isnt-enough/275866/

    Why Eric Holder's Excuse for Spying on Reporters Isn't Enough
    If the enemy already benefited from a serious leak, why can't he tell us the details that they already know?
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    May 15, 2013 4:50 PM GMT

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/15/eric-holder-records_n_3278841.html

    Eric Holder Says He's 'Not Sure' How Many Times DOJ Sought Journalists' Records

    Amid an unprecedented effort by the Obama administration to crack down on leaks of classified information, Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday said he was unsure how many times he'd signed off on subpoenas to seize reporter records.

    "I'm not sure how many of those cases that I have actually signed off on," Holder told NPR's Carrie Johnson. "I take them very seriously. I know that I have refused to sign a few, pushed a few back for modifications."

    The comments from Holder are bound to stir up additional criticism of the Obama administration's approach to First Amendment protections for reporters. The president and his staff are already under intense scrutiny over the Department of Justice's decision to subpoena the phone records for more than 100 journalists at the Associated Press. That Holder could not recall how many times he has done something similar in the past will only fan those flames.

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    May 15, 2013 5:40 PM GMT
    CharleyChase90232 saidWTF???

    So wait a minute, theres that Libya embassy scandal, the IRS scandal, the Boston bombers where the Russians warned Obama up to two years earlier and now this with Obama spying on the news organization?


    Another ill informed person icon_confused.gif
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    May 15, 2013 10:31 PM GMT
    Even the Washington Post is now making fun of Media Matters over their blind support for this administration - not to mention how they've effectively become a talking piece for/of the Administration.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2013/05/15/media-matters-issues-statement-on-ap-justice-controversy/

    Evidence of this Media Matters-Obama administration mindmeld? This piece here, which says, among other things: “If the press compromised active counter-terror operations for a story that only tipped off the terrorists, that sounds like it should be investigated.” The document is essentially a set of talking points for people who wish to defend the Obama administration over secretly subpoenaing 20 phone lines of a wire service as part of a leak investigation.

    So, Media Matters for America, what do you have to say about this? After we put that question to the watchdog group, we got this statement saying, in effect: That’s not us. From David Brock, Chair of Media Matters for America and Media Matters Action Network:

    Media Matters for America monitors, analyzes, and corrects conservative misinformation in the media and was not involved with the production of the document focusing on the DOJs investigation. That document was issued by “Message Matters,” a project of the Media Matters Action Network, which posts, through a different editorial process and to a different website, a wide range of potential messaging products for progressive talkers to win public debates with conservatives.

    As a media watchdog organization, Media Matters for America recognizes that a free press is necessary for quality journalism and essential to our democracy. A healthy news media is what we fight for every day. Yesterday, 52 news organizations signed a letter to the Department of Justice expressing concerns that the DOJ’s broad subpoena of Associated Press reporters’ phone records runs counter to First Amendment principles and injures the practice of journalism. We stand with those news organizations and share their concerns.


    A prediction: This statement is going to prompt some snickering in mediology land.
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    May 15, 2013 10:33 PM GMT
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/15/opinion/spying-on-the-associated-press.html

    Mr. Holder said the leak under scrutiny, believed to be about the foiling of a terrorist plot in Yemen a year ago, “put the American people at risk,” although he did not say how, and the records sweep went far beyond any one news article. Gary Pruitt, the president of The A.P., said two months’ worth of records could provide a “road map” to its whole news-gathering operation.

    Under the guidelines, the administration should have sought information from other sources. Mr. Cole said it did. But the administration made the troubling and discrediting decision not to inform The A.P. in advance. The guidelines require investigators to provide notice unless it would “pose a substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation.” That is intended to prevent destruction of evidence, an impossibility in this case.

    The Obama administration has indicted six current and former officials under the Espionage Act, which had previously been used only three times since it was enacted in 1917. One, a former C.I.A. officer, pleaded guilty under another law for revealing the name of an agent who participated in the torture of a terrorist suspect. Meanwhile, President Obama decided not to investigate, much less prosecute, anyone who actually did the torturing.

    The Justice Department is pursuing at least two major press investigations, including one believed to be focused on David Sanger’s reporting in a book and in The Times on an American-Israeli effort to sabotage Iranian nuclear works. These tactics will not scare us off, or The A.P., but they could reveal sources on other stories and frighten confidential contacts vital to coverage of government.
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    May 15, 2013 10:36 PM GMT
    Amazing how Americans are up and arms about the government intruding on the AP but the Patriot Act was some savior to protect us all.
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    May 15, 2013 10:54 PM GMT
    msuNdc saidAmazing how Americans are up and arms about the government intruding on the AP but the Patriot Act was some savior to protect us all.


    I think it's the media that is far more up at arms... and given how favorable their coverage has been typically of Democratic Administrations it's not really that surprising.

    I was a bit more surprised though about how people are willing to overlook the warrentless online snooping.
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    May 15, 2013 11:01 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    msuNdc saidAmazing how Americans are up and arms about the government intruding on the AP but the Patriot Act was some savior to protect us all.


    I think it's the media that is far more up at arms... and given how favorable their coverage has been typically of Democratic Administrations it's not really that surprising.

    I was a bit more surprised though about how people are willing to overlook the warrentless online snooping.


    No..... The media is up and arms but anti-Obama supporters are going full circle and are on a frenzy.
  • musclmed

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    May 15, 2013 11:10 PM GMT
    msuNdc said
    riddler78 said
    msuNdc saidAmazing how Americans are up and arms about the government intruding on the AP but the Patriot Act was some savior to protect us all.


    I think it's the media that is far more up at arms... and given how favorable their coverage has been typically of Democratic Administrations it's not really that surprising.

    I was a bit more surprised though about how people are willing to overlook the warrentless online snooping.


    No..... The media is up and arms but anti-Obama supporters are going full circle and are on a frenzy.


    Honestly so much is coming out its really hard to conceptualize the scope of it all.

    What I can say is the White house appears to be neutered by the whole incident. Clearly a lack of leadership and ownership when the President repeatedly states he learns about scandals in his administration when he hears it in the newspaper. It is possible he is surrounded by sycophants that are afraid to tell him bad news.

    We need an independent investigator for each problem. The level of distrust is so high no one will believe a word out of the IRS , or Justice Department.

  • kuroshiro

    Posts: 786

    May 16, 2013 12:46 AM GMT
    So they have a bunch of phone numbers. Big fucking deal?