well it seems our justice dept. run by none other THAN that rock star eric holder had decided to hijack about 20 phone lines belonging to ap. in April and may of 2012. kind of funny now that ap has been the target the media is up in arms. For years while justice and the admin have abused the american public it seemed they could care less, Well anyway if this is what it takes to shine the light on the vermin so be it. Benghazi, i.r.s., a.p. seems like 3 strikes YOU’RE out in the ole ball game.
Politicians versus press: Attorney General Eric Holder held a press conference on Tuesday to address the story that the Justice Department secretly obtained two months worth of journalists phone records
Eric Holder points finger at his DEPUTY who secretly obtained journalist’s phone records as Obama is forced to say he has ‘confidence’ in the Attorney General
- Justice Department obtained records listing incoming and outgoing calls and duration of calls for more than 20 telephone lines used by journalists
- Lines included the main number used by reporters in the House of Reps press gallery and general AP numbers in Washington and New York
- Stems from AP article talking reporting a thwarted terror attack
- Attorney General Eric Holder said he had recused himself from the investigation into the leak to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest
- Said that his deputy made the decision to obtain the records
PUBLISHED: 13:40 EST, 14 May 2013 | UPDATED: 17:55 EST, 14 May 2013
Attorney General Eric Holder went on the defensive on Tuesday explaining why the Justice Department secretly obtained two months worth of reporters’ telephone records in an ‘unprecedented’ search for a confidential source.
‘This was a very serious leak and a very, very serious leak,’ Holder said at a press conference explaining the department’s actions which have been criticized for going against the constitutional right to a free press.
Holder said that he recused himself from the making the controversial decision to subpoena the phone records of Associated Press journalists, saying that it was made by Deputy Attorney General James Cole.
He said that he was ‘confident that the people involved in this … followed all applicable Department of Justice regulations’ even though he claimed not to actually know the details of the decision-making process as a result of his recusal.
President Obama was forced to follow Holder’s press conference with the release of a statement saying that the incident does not shake his faith in his close friend and the country’s top legal adviser. (Whoopsie)
‘The president has confidence in the attorney general,’ press secretary Jay Carney said.
The controversy came when the Associated Press reported that two months worth of reporters’ telephone records without their knowledge, obtaining a wide breadth of records that had nothing to do with the leak of information that they were concerned about.
The Justice Department has spoken in the past about how they were upset over the leak of information about a foiled al Qaeda plot where the terrorist group planned to detonate a bomb on a plane bound for the United States.
‘I’ve been a prosecutor since 1976 and I have to say that this is among, if not the most serious, it is within the top two or three most serious leaks I’ve ever seen,’ Holder said.
It put the American people at risk. That’s not hyperbole. It put the American people at risk.’
That isn’t enough to satisfy critics, as top Republicans are already calling for Holder’s resignation over the incident.
‘Because Attorney General Holder has so egregiously violated the public trust, the president should ask for his immediate resignation,’ Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus said.
‘If President Obama does not, the message will be unmistakable: The President of the United States believes his administration is above the Constitution and does not respect the role of a free press.’
The records listed journalists’ incoming and outgoing calls, as well as 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, Connecticut, 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 records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012.
News of the probe into one of the largest news organizations in the world immediately sparked outrage among Republicans on Capitol Hill.
‘If the Obama Administration is going after reporters’ phone records, they better have a damned good explanation.’
A spokesman for Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the move is representative of a broader ‘pattern of intimidation.’
‘Whether it is secretly targeting patriotic Americans participating in the electoral progress or reporters exercising their First Amendment rights, these new revelations suggest a pattern of intimidation by the Obama Administration,’ Doug Heye said.
The American Civil Liberties Union was equally critical.
( You Know you screwed up if even the ACLU is on your butt.)
‘Obtaining a broad range of telephone records in order to ferret out a government leaker is an unacceptable abuse of power,’ said Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. ‘Freedom of the press is a pillar of our democracy, and that freedom often depends on confidential communications between reporters and their sources.’
AP President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt said the government 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,’ Pruitt wrote in a letter of protest to Holder.
‘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 news gathering operations, and disclose information about AP’s activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know.’
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.
U.S. officials have previously said in public testimony that the U.S. attorney in Washington is conducting a criminal investigation into who may have leaked information contained in a May 7, 2012, AP story about a foiled terror plot.
The story disclosed details of a CIA operation in Yemen that stopped an al Qaeda plot in the spring of 2012 to detonate a bomb on an airplane bound for the United States.
In testimony in February, CIA Director John Brennan noted that the FBI had questioned him about whether he was AP’s source, which he denied.
He called the release of the information to the media about the terror plot an ‘unauthorized and dangerous disclosure of classified information.’
Prosecutors have sought phone records from reporters before, but the seizure of records from such a wide array of AP offices, including general AP switchboards numbers and an office-wide shared fax line, is unusual and largely unprecedented.
In the letter notifying the AP received Friday, the Justice Department offered no explanation for the seizure, according to Pruitt’s letter and attorneys for the AP.
The records were presumably obtained from phone companies earlier this year although the government letter did not explain that. None of the information provided by the government to the AP suggested the actual phone conversations were monitored.