When he was asked why the Department of Justice subpoenaed the AP’s phone records, Holder responded that the leak involved was “very, very serious.” So serious, in fact, that “It put Americans at risk.” So the DOJ had to act.
Yeah, about that. It appears not to be true.
For five days, reporters at the Associated Press had been sitting on a big scoop about a foiled al-Qaeda plot at the request of CIA officials. Then, in a hastily scheduled Monday morning meeting, the journalists were asked by agency officials to hold off on publishing the story for just one more day.
The CIA officials, who had initially cited national security concerns in an attempt to delay publication, no longer had those worries, according to individuals familiar with the exchange. Instead, the Obama administration was planning to announce the successful counterterrorism operation that Tuesday.
Get that? The administration wanted to own the story, and wanted AP to hold off publishing until Obama et al could announce it themselves.
The CIA, which would later allow the State Department to edit the Benghazi talking points, continued arguing with the AP to delay releasing the story even after all the security concerns about it went away.
The news service was prepared to publish its scoop on May 2, 2012. But in discussions with government officials, the CIA stressed to AP that publishing anything about the operation to obtain the bomb and thwart the plot would create grave national security dangers and compromise a “sensitive intelligence operation.”
Michael J. Morell, the CIA’s deputy director, gave AP reporters some additional background information to persuade them to hold off, Vietor said. The agency needed several days more to protect what it had in the works.
Then, in a meeting on Monday, May 7, CIA officials reported that the national security concerns were “no longer an issue,” according to the individuals familiar with the discussion.
When the journalists rejected a plea to hold off longer, the CIA then offered a compromise. Would they wait a day if AP could have the story exclusively for an hour, with no government officials confirming it for that time?
It’s after the AP decides to run with the story, that the DOJ goes after its phone records in a sweep so vast that it even included the AP’s phone at the US House of Representatives. Given who the AP may have been talking to on that phone, we may have a violation of the separation of powers.
Obama bus driver Tommy Vietor helpfully wraps the story up for his boss.
“We shouldn’t pretend that this leak of an unbelievably sensitive dangerous piece of information is okay because nobody died,” he said.
We shouldn’t pretend that lifelong Obama loyalists are qualified to be national security spokesmen, either.