In the newest overreach perpetrated by the Obama administration, the Associated Press has discovered that some 100 of its Washington-based reporters have had their phone records–both personal and business–secretly obtained by Eric Holder’s Justice Department.
The AP reports that the phone records were subpoenaed as a result of a DOJ investigation into who inside the government leaked information of a CIA operation that ended up in an AP story from May 7, 2012. But the AP says the requests for phone records went far, far beyond the scope of that investigation.
The records of upwards to 100 reporters covered a two-month period in 2012 and consisted of the main AP office number as well as the shared AP lines in its Washington offices. The government also obtained records for the personal phone lines of several reporters as well as their AP assigned phones.
In a letter of protest, AP President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt said that the probe could not be justified.
“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.
Pruitt demanded the phone records in the hands of the DOJ be destroyed.
In past instances like this news organizations have been told by the DOJ that phone records are being obtained. In this case, however, the AP was not informed of the actions. Holder’s office claimed that it shouldn’t have to let the AP know of its efforts because knowledge of the investigation might “pose a substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation.”
Only a week ago President Obama warned students at Ohio State University to “reject” those voices that warn against the growth of intrusive, big government.
“Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems. Some of these same voices also do their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices,” Obama said during the graduation ceremony.