3. The Department of Justice secretly obtained the phone records of 20 lines at or connected to the Associated Press. Media are fuming today over the “massive and unprecedented” grab of AP phone records.
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.
The sweep was evidently in response to a leak about a terrorist attack, a second jihadist underwear bombing attempt. Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to explain his agency’s actions today. Some are already calling for his resignation or firing. Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey appeared on Fox News Channel today and questioned the wide sweep of reporters’ communications, including their personal cell phones. The AP says that it was not told anything about the sweep in advance, and that it still has not been explained to them.
4. The IRS targeted conservative Tea Party groups, and Jewish groups favorable toward Israel. For about two years and through the 2012 election, the Internal Revenue Service deliberately targeted conservative, Tea Party, and anti-Obama groups, and groups with “patriot” and “constitution” in their name. The IRS demanded deep personal information of everyone involved with these groups, and was evidently building a database on them. IRS official Lois Lerner apologized for the targeting last week, and claimed that the targeting only happened in the Cincinnati office. Since then, Americans have learned that officials in Washington knew about it a year ago, and were involved. The IRS also leaked information from the groups to liberal ProPublica, according to ProPublica. President Obama claims only to have learned about it on Friday, and in the media. But Congress has asked questions off and on about it for a couple of years now. The New York Times praised the IRS for targeting conservatives in May 2012. The targeting has had a chilling effect since 2009, when Obama joked about unleashing the IRS on enemies. This scandal gets a hearing on Friday. The fact that the IRS is empowered to deal with Americans’ health care choices thanks to ObamaCare adds an additional chilling layer to this story.
Update: IRS may have targeted pro-life groups too. And there may be a new scandal brewing at the Environmental Protection Agency.
*Fast and Furious and the Pigford scandal are still lurking out there, but neither is in the headlines at the moment. Obama may have killed off Fast and Furious when he invoked executive privilege to seal off the White House’s communications with DOJ on the subject.