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Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe

Old 05-13-13, 04:46 PM
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Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe

This does not surprise me. It disgusts me - but it does not surprise me.


http://news.yahoo.com/govt-obtains-w...202010831.html

Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe

May 13, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — 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 outgoing calls 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. It was not clear if the records also included incoming calls or the duration of calls.

In all, the government seized the 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 where 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.


The government would not say why it sought the records. 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 provided 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-Qaida 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.

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.

Among those whose phone numbers were obtained were five reporters and an editor who were involved in the May 7, 2012 story.

The Obama administration has aggressively investigated disclosures of classified information to the media and has brought six cases against people suspected of providing classified information, more than under all previous presidents combined.

Justice Department published rules require that subpoenas of records from news organizations must be personally approved by the attorney general but it was not known if that happened in this case. The letter notifying AP that its phone records had been obtained though subpoenas was sent Friday by Ronald Machen, the U.S. attorney in Washington.

William Miller, a spokesman for Machen, said Monday that in general the U.S. attorney follows "all applicable laws, federal regulations, and Department of Justice policies when issuing subpoenas for phone records of media organizations" but he would not address questions about the specifics of the AP records. "We do not comment on ongoing criminal investigations," Miller said in an e-mail.

The Justice Department lays out strict rules for efforts to get phone records from news organizations. A subpoena can only be considered after "all reasonable attempts" have been made to get the same information from other sources, the rules say. It was unclear what other steps, in total, the Justice Department has taken to get information in the case.

A subpoena to the media must be "as narrowly drawn as possible" and "should be directed at relevant information regarding a limited subject matter and should cover a reasonably limited time period," according to the rules.

The reason for these constraints, the department says, is to avoid actions that "might impair the news gathering function" because the government recognizes that "freedom of the press can be no broader than the freedom of reporters to investigate and report the news."

News organizations normally are notified in advance that the government wants phone records and enter into negotiations over the desired information. In this case, however, the government, in its letter to the AP, cited an exemption to those rules that holds that prior notification can be waived if such notice, in the exemption's wording, might "pose a substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation."

It is unknown whether a judge or a grand jury signed off on the subpoenas.

The May 7, 2012, AP story that disclosed details of the CIA operation in Yemen to stop an airliner bomb plot occurred around the one-year anniversary of the May 2, 2011, killing of Osama bin Laden.

The plot was significant both because of its seriousness and also because the White House previously had told the public it had "no credible information that terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida, are plotting attacks in the U.S. to coincide with the (May 2) anniversary of bin Laden's death."

The AP delayed reporting the story at the request of government officials who said it would jeopardize national security. Once government officials said those concerns were allayed, the AP disclosed the plot because officials said it no longer endangered national security. The Obama administration, however, continued to request that the story be held until the administration could make an official announcement.

The May 7 story was written by reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman with contributions from reporters Kimberly Dozier, Eileen Sullivan and Alan Fram. They and their editor, Ted Bridis, were among the journalists whose April-May 2012 phone records were seized by the government.

Brennan talked about the AP story and investigation in written testimony to the Senate. "The irresponsible and damaging leak of classified information was made ... when someone informed the Associated Press that the U.S. Government had intercepted an IED (improvised explosive device) that was supposed to be used in an attack and that the U.S. Government currently had that IED in its possession and was analyzing it," he said.

He also defended the White House's plan to discuss the plot immediately afterward. "Once someone leaked information about interdiction of the IED and that the IED was actually in our possession, it was imperative to inform the American people consistent with Government policy that there was never any danger to the American people associated with this al-Qa'ida plot," Brennan told senators.
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Old 05-13-13, 04:55 PM
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Re: Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe

Dunno why they are crying. The founding fathers obviously werent thinking of a global 24 hour news cycle when they wrote the first ammendment. They were talking about small papers and dudes with 'zines.
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Old 05-13-13, 07:58 PM
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Re: Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe

They got a subpoena so I really don't have an issue with the information gathering.
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Old 05-13-13, 08:25 PM
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Re: Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe



As long as we have a subpoena!
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Old 05-13-13, 09:09 PM
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Re: Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe

Originally Posted by burnside986 View Post
Dunno why they are crying. The founding fathers obviously werent thinking of a global 24 hour news cycle when they wrote the first ammendment. They were talking about small papers and dudes with 'zines.
Laugh or cry?
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Old 05-13-13, 10:39 PM
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Re: Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe

Is this what we are talking about? No tapping or reading full conversations?

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.
Then telling the AP that they did it? I still don't like it but unless there is more my outrage meter is pretty low.

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Old 05-13-13, 11:12 PM
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Re: Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe

If someone in the Justice Department wants the phone records from a news organization, that article says, they simply need to have the Attorney General sign the subpoena. That isn't a lot of checks and balances. It doesn't even need to leave the department.
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Old 05-14-13, 12:44 AM
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Re: Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe

Originally Posted by Nick Danger View Post
If someone in the Justice Department wants the phone records from a news organization, that article says, they simply need to have the Attorney General sign the subpoena. That isn't a lot of checks and balances. It doesn't even need to leave the department.
That is not what it say at all. You need to go back and reread the article.
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Old 05-14-13, 02:02 AM
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Re: Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe

The Justice Department lays out strict rules for efforts to get phone records from news organizations.
It sure does.

"Fuck You, Give Me Your Records."
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Old 05-14-13, 01:50 PM
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Re: Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe

http://washingtonexaminer.com/obtain...rticle/2529585

Obtaining AP phone records required Holder’s approval

May 13, 2013

On Monday afternoon, the Associated Press reported that the U.S. Department of Justice had “secretly obtained two months of telephone records” from 20 phone lines assigned to reporters and editors from the global news organization. The shocking revelation comes on top of news that the IRS targeted conservative groups for special scrutiny. It will be harder for President Obama to pin the DOJ’s action on lower level bureaucrats, however, because requests to subpoena news organization records require the approval of Attorney General Eric Holder.

The DOJ’s U.S. Attorneys’ Manual is quite clear on this point:

"The Attorney General’s authorization is normally required before the issuance of any subpoena to a member of the news media or for the telephone toll records of a member of the news media. However, in those cases where the media member or his or her representative agrees to provide the material sought and that material has been published or broadcast, the United States Attorney or the responsible Assistant Attorney General may authorize issuance of the subpoena, thereafter submitting a report to the Office of Public Affairs detailing the circumstances surrounding the issuance of the subpoena…."

Because this probe was secret, the second condition was not met, meaning that Holder’s approval was necessary. The manual goes on to explain:

"Department attorneys seeking the Attorney General’s authorization to issue a subpoena to a member of the news media, or for telephone toll records of a media member, must submit a written request summarizing the facts of the prosecution or investigation, explaining the essentiality of the information sought to the investigation or prosecution, describing attempts to obtain the voluntary cooperation of the news media through negotiation and explaining how the proposed subpoena will be fashioned as narrowly as possible to obtain the necessary information in a manner as minimally intrusive and burdensome as possible."

So, either attorneys’ ignored procedure in obtaining phone records without proper approval, or Holder directly approved an operation that involved obtaining journalists’ work and personal phone records. Holder is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday for an oversight hearing.
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Old 05-15-13, 12:32 PM
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Re: Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe

This is a good one, Obama asks for a law to be put in place to prevent an administration from doing what his administration just did



WASHINGTON — A top Senate Democrat plans to revive legislation that would protect journalists and their employers from revealing their sources, days after it was revealed that the Justice Department secretly obtained Associated Press phone records.

A congressional official said Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York plans to reintroduce the 2009 bill. The legislation stalled in Congress in past years.

The government obtained the records from April and May of 2012 for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists, including main offices. AP's top executive called the action a massive and unprecedented intrusion into how news organizations do their work.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to publicly discuss the senator's plans.
http://online.wsj.com/article/APf226...googlenews_wsj
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Old 05-15-13, 12:33 PM
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Re: Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe

http://www.politico.com/politico44/2...054.html?hp=bn

The White House has asked Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to reintroduce a press shield law, White House officials said Wednesday.

The move comes after questions were raised about the seizure of Associated Press phone records by the Justice Department as part of a national security leak investigation.

Shield laws protect journalists from being forced to reveal sources. The version that passed the Judiciary Committee in 2009 included exemptions for national security.

Schumer praised the new push.

"This kind of law would balance national security needs against the public's right to the free flow of information," Schumer said. "At minimum, our bill would have ensured a fairer, more deliberate process in this case."
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Old 05-15-13, 03:44 PM
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Re: Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe

Holder today: "I don't know" (x100)

http://www.buzzfeed.com/dorsey/eric-...st-doesnt-know
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Old 05-15-13, 03:56 PM
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Re: Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe

Id like a reporter to ask "What the fuck do you know, Mr Holder?"
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Old 05-15-13, 04:13 PM
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Re: Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe

How did Eric Holder survive into Obama's second term?
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Old 05-15-13, 04:19 PM
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Re: Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe

I'm sure many considered it, but they didn't want to be thrown into Guantanamo on the spot.
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Old 05-15-13, 04:26 PM
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Re: Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe

How this guy still has a job is amazing.
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Old 05-15-13, 04:44 PM
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Re: Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe

Originally Posted by BearFan View Post
How this guy still has a job is amazing.
Even if Obama wanted to replace him, he probably couldn't get his replacement confirmed. Consider being stuck with Holder an unwanted byproduct of filibustering qualified candidates.
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Old 05-15-13, 04:49 PM
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Re: Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe

Hey, they got John Kerry
It is nice to know that we can even blame bad Obama cabinet members on Republicans.
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Old 05-15-13, 04:59 PM
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Re: Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe

No kidding ... he could get someone in that position by picking someone acceptable to at least a few Republicans .. like Kerry was and everyone else in the Cabinent
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Old 05-15-13, 05:06 PM
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Re: Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe

Assuming Obama wanted him gone, I'm just speculating on Obama's motivation for keeping him. The devil I know or the devil that is preferred by the opposition?

And don't bring up Kerry as this shining example of bipartisanship. Opening up that seat was clearly part of the reasoning they were so enthusiastic about his nomination.
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Old 05-15-13, 05:25 PM
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Re: Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe

Originally Posted by drc View Post
Assuming Obama wanted him gone, I'm just speculating on Obama's motivation for keeping him. The devil I know or the devil that is preferred by the opposition?
It's obvious he doesn't want him gone, or he would be gone.
Originally Posted by drc
And don't bring up Kerry as this shining example of bipartisanship.
I didn't.
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Old 05-15-13, 05:28 PM
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Re: Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe

Who cares if it is a shining example of bipartisanship or not? He got the post and the cabinet was full and will be again after those that left are replaced
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Old 05-15-13, 05:33 PM
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Re: Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe

Originally Posted by BearFan View Post
This is a good one, Obama asks for a law to be put in place to prevent an administration from doing what his administration just did...
...and has been doing for most of his tenure as president.

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Old 05-15-13, 06:10 PM
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Re: Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe

... and did in response to explicit demands from Republicans that the leak be investigated.
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