Ed Driscoll

Obama Justice Department Seizes AP Phone Records

Wow: “Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe,” the Associated Press claims:

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 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, according to attorneys for the AP.

In all, the government seized those 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 whose 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.

Perhaps Ann Coulter has the justification, at least from BHO’s POV: “Obama’s Signature Move: Unsealing Private Records,” she noted in August of last year, in an article that’s been re-linked at the Drudge Report today:

Mitt Romney presents one enormous problem for Barack Obama’s campaign: No divorce records. That’s why the media are so hot to get their hands on Romney’s tax records for the past 25 years. They need something to “pick through, distort and lie about” — as the Republican candidate says.

Obama’s usual campaign method, used in 100 percent of his races, has been to pry into the private records of his opponents.

Democrats aren’t going to find any personal dirt on the clean-cut Mormon, so they need complicated tax filings going back decades in order to create the illusion of scandal out of boring financial records.

Romney has already released his 2010 tax return and is about to release his 2011 return. After all the huffing and puffing by the media demanding those returns, the follow-up story vanished remarkably quickly when the only thing the return showed was that Romney pays millions of dollars in taxes and gives a lot of money to charity.

Let’s take a romp down memory lane and review the typical Obama campaign strategy. Obama became a U.S. senator only by virtue of David Axelrod’s former employer, the Chicago Tribune, ripping open the sealed divorce records of Obama’s two principal opponents.

Read the whole thing.

“Note to President Obama: IRS Scandal Is Why We Distrust Government,” Jonathan S. Tobin wrote at Commentary yesterday. Today’s latest Obama scandal isn’t exactly rehabilitating their reputation. Or as Erika Johnsen writes at Hot Air in response to Obama’s AP phone hack:

 This is not a good day for the White House. The IRS has been specifically targeting conservative groups; and now it looks like the DOJ has been seriously meddling into the freedom of the press? No doubt they’ll claim that it was all for the sake of national security and plugging leaks of classified information, or hey, perhaps that this was just a mix-up by some low-level Justice employees, or something… Or maybe they’re going for a, ‘Heck, let’s just overwhelm everybody and air the thugocracy scandals out all at once’-type strategy?

Which shoe drops next?