Justice Department seizes AP phone records

The Justice Department authorized a confiscation of phone records of Associated Press reporters and editors that many feel is an egregious attack on freedom of the press. The government’s action is thought to be part of an investigation into the leaking of information a year ago about a foiled Yemen-based plot to bomb an airliner. (The New York Times, May 13, 2013, by Charlie Savage and Leslie Kaufman)

“Obtaining a broad range of telephone records in order to ferret out a government leaker is an unacceptable abuse of power. Freedom of the press is a pillar of our democracy, and that freedom often depends on confidential communications between reporters and their sources,” said Ben Wizner in an ACLU press release,  May 13, 2013.

AP CEO Gary Pruitt wrote what some called an angry letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking for the return of the records, “The regulations require that, in all cases and without exception, a subpoena for a reporter’s telephone toll records must be ‘as narrowly drawn as possible.’ This plainly did not happen. We regard this action by the Department of Justice as a serious interference with AP’s constitutional rights to gather and report the news. (USA Today, May 13, 2013) -db