Oops. So much for the “slobbering love affair” as Bernie Goldberg called it in his book about the slavish devotion the media holds for President Obama. Why? The Obama Administration’s Justice Department put a wholesale dragnet for a two month period of time on the Associated Press’s phone records, the AP reports.
The records obtained by the Justice Department listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and for the main number for the AP 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 the calls.
The government would not say why it sought the records. 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.
But it’s about a terrorist plot, so that OK, right? Check this out,
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.
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.
The AP talked to Democrat Senator Patrick “Leaky” Leahy who thinks the Obama Administration has some ‘splainin’ to do,
“The burden is always on the government when they go after private information, especially information regarding the press or its confidential sources. … On the face of it, I am concerned that the government may not have met that burden. I am very troubled by these allegations and want to hear the government’s explanation.”
Leahy’s political polar opposite, Congressman Darryl Issa Chair of the investigative House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, issued this statement tonight,
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa today issued the following statement on news that the Department of Justice has been monitoring Associated Press phone lines, including a line in the press gallery of the U.S. House of Representatives:
“This is obviously disturbing. Coming within a week of revelations that the White House lied to the American people about the Benghazi attacks and the IRS targeted conservative Americans for their political beliefs, Americans should take notice that top Obama Administration officials increasingly see themselves as above the law and emboldened by the belief that they don’t have to answer to anyone. I will work with my fellow House Chairmen on an appropriate response to Obama Administration officials.”
To borrow a phrase by Nixon AG John Mitchell during the Watergate investigation referring to Katharine Graham, publisher of the Washington Post,
[Eric’s] got his tit in a big fat ringer…
Wake up, America.