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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

May 13, 2013 - 2:02 pm

Another scandal dropped on the Obama administration today as the Associated Press revealed a “massive and unprecedented” grab of phone records from the news wire by the Justice Department.

The AP reported that the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors dated April and May 2012, including incoming and outgoing calls, and the duration of each call, for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery.

AP President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt fired off a letter of protest to Attorney General Eric Holder today demanding 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.

The DoJ notified the AP on Friday but included no explanation for the seizure.

It included phone numbers for five reporters and an editor who were involved in this May 7, 2012, story on the thwarting of a new underwear bombing plot.

The plot was significant because the White House had told the public it had “no credible information that terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida, are plotting attacks in the U.S. to coincide with the (May 2) anniversary of bin Laden’s death,” the AP noted today.

UPDATE: White House press secretary Jay Carney, traveling on a fundraising swing through New York with President Obama, remarks to the White House press pool: “Other than press reports, we have no knowledge of any attempt by the Justice Department to seek phone records of the AP. We are not involved in decisions made in connection with criminal investigations, as those matters are handled independently by the Justice Department. Any questions about an ongoing criminal investigation should be directed to the Department of Justice.”

UPDATE: House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) weighs in: “This is obviously disturbing. Coming within a week of revelations that the White House lied to the American people about the Benghazi attacks and the IRS targeted conservative Americans for their political beliefs, Americans should take notice that top Obama Administration officials increasingly see themselves as above the law and emboldened by the belief that they don’t have to answer to anyone. I will work with my fellow House Chairmen on an appropriate response to Obama Administration officials.”

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
The only thing they are concerned about is that the lie was made appearent that they had told. There was no national security leak, it was political leak. Just imagine the horror when they found out that one of their minions had told the truth that the administration hadn't sanctioned.

Political control is much more important than national security to those that have been appointed to govenment posts in the last 4 years.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
The problem is that a legitimate investigation into leaks of classified information can easily morph into a chilling effect on freedom of the press.

Remember this?

"The White House Plumbers, sometimes simply called the Plumbers, were a covert White House Special Investigations Unit established July 24, 1971 during the presidency of Richard Nixon. Its task was to stop the leaking of classified information to the news media. Its members branched into illegal activities working for the Committee to Re-elect the President, including the Watergate break-in and the ensuing Watergate scandal."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_House_Plumbers
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
This admimistration really..really..REALLY wants Benghazi off the front of the news cycle to get the IRS to admit (out of the blue) their malfeasance and now this thing with the AP phone records. What's next, is obama going to have to come out of the closet to get the focus on something else..ANYTHING else?
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (24)
All Comments   (24)
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This sends the message to the press: "You will keep telling the story we want you to tell, or there will be consequences". As such, the timing is crucial at a time where the Obama "story" is everything. So many things not fitting in at the moment.

This seems like an attempt to intimidate the press to me, and unfortunately, it will probably work.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
On second thought, it was not so much meant to intimidate the press as to intimidate Benghazi whistle-blowers.

If you read the "justification" letter that was sent to the AP, there was no attempt to claim a "substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation" which is required if getting the documents without negotiating with the press for the information. There is no reason to believe this information would go away, so this is all nonsense.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
The cure for a corrupt government is humane euthanasia from 500 yards.
III/0317
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is an intriguing story! I have been so frustrated trying to figure out how to hold the fourth estate (aka Amalgamated Union of Obama Leg-Humpers) accountable for holding the Obama regime accountable.

Maybe it's a direct move against the media itself that is the key to resurrecting their sense of skepticism toward government overreach. Perhaps Justice is acting legitimately in this case, maybe not, but if it serves notice that no one - no one - is exempt from possibly getting a feel for boot on the neck power from the Executive that might be healthy. Keep it up Barry, keep your media minions in line. Lets see how high their tolerance is when the stuff is in their own kitchen.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
when is this administration actually going to say that they knew about something? It's like all the president does is vacation and golf... oh wait, maybe that's the problem...
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ap responding to these wiretaps and illegal shenanigans of the union-friendly Obama administration by denouncing their public sector union, 'The Guild' and will finally provide REAL, unbiased news stories.

This will occur.. never.

Though it'd be an Ap/AFP article I'd actually read!
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Between the ARB/ Pickering playing grab*ss with this pitiful administration regarding Benghazi (Pickering and the ARB drawing conclusions and outcomes FIRST and ONLY following-up on their own reinforced conclusions to fit their own narrative - 'C'est incroyable') and Uhbama (he'd commented recently on there being, 'No there there..' with respect to Benghazi. That's my EXACT sentiment to the empty vessel that is Barack Obama!) AGAIN on ANOTHER fundraiser!

How, how do American homo-sapien's continue to give Barack Kardashian ANY type of respect, decorum?

Despicable.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Every time there is unethical behavior on behalf of this administration the common answer is, "We had no knowledge of these actions..."
Well which version do you prefer: That the president is an unapologetic LIAR or that the administration does not seem to know what the hell their minions are doing? Fools, liars and crooks and even they are not sure in which category they belong.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Biden is the leak. Even he admits it. Now, back to the cover up by Billery, and DaOne in Libya.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
He does seem to be pretty leaky all right.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Back to Benghazi, please.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Holder's defense may actually be credible. (God, I am defending this administration.) They say this is to locate and shut down the leaks in national security, and that they have gone after leaks more than any other administration. The first part is credible, and the latter part is absolutely true.

This action may be truly justified. They may have a serious intelligence leak problem, which is indicated by the suddenness and breadth of the investigation. Seems like something important was compromised, and it is inferred that it could only have been from a few specific people. A check of phone records may have shown several reporter contacts. It may be that some reporter is not just doing it for reporting, but is passing it on, not just to the public, but to our enemies. This may be real spying disguised as journalism.

IOW, this might be truly legit. It's just hard to conceive that they might just be doing their jobs for once.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
The only thing they are concerned about is that the lie was made appearent that they had told. There was no national security leak, it was political leak. Just imagine the horror when they found out that one of their minions had told the truth that the administration hadn't sanctioned.

Political control is much more important than national security to those that have been appointed to govenment posts in the last 4 years.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Always knew that Obama disliked Republicans,but do find it funny when stories like this pop up.Few in media that are Democrats are(couple)are seeing that this president doesn't want any truth exposed.When media wants numbers then it includes liberals in press,too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!LIz
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
The problem is that a legitimate investigation into leaks of classified information can easily morph into a chilling effect on freedom of the press.

Remember this?

"The White House Plumbers, sometimes simply called the Plumbers, were a covert White House Special Investigations Unit established July 24, 1971 during the presidency of Richard Nixon. Its task was to stop the leaking of classified information to the news media. Its members branched into illegal activities working for the Committee to Re-elect the President, including the Watergate break-in and the ensuing Watergate scandal."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_House_Plumbers
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, I do remember that. There is nothing which the power-junkies will not corrupt. So, one may have a legitimate action, but it will later be corrupted.

As to Freedom of the Press, Obama is going after a truly Leftwing outfit, the AP. That would be like Bush going after Fox. I have to guess that this one is legitimate.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
While there may be legitimate elements in this, there is a lot of reason to believe they exceeded their bounds on this one. The first is that this record seizure occurred a year after the incident. The second is that it violates all the procedures that are in place for obtaining this sort of information from the press. The claim is that it was necessary to get the information quickly. However, given the first point, this excuse does not hold water. It is also strange that this administration never seems to go after leaks that help Obama (e.g. the drone strike procedure leaked to NYT that painted Obama as decisive). This, like the IRS problem, seems to be only used when there is some break in the Obama narrative.

This is meant as a warning to the AP and the rest that they need to stay in line or there will be consequences. As such, its timing is critical.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
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