Monday, May 13, 2013

(Politics) AP Phone Records Seized: Justice Department Under Fire

Eric Holder
Attorney General Eric Holder testifies in defense of the Justice Department

With increasing opposition amid the recent privacy laws passed in the last couple years, it seems that such a controversy could not have arisen at a more pointed time. In fact, the Justice Department of the United States Government has just recently been in the spotlight for extending big brother’s arm – just a little bit too far. The JD surreptitiously has obtained over two months of phone record information from journalists on staff at the Associated Press in what AP execs are calling a “"massive and unprecedented intrusion.” Why AP was targeted, and for what reason the specific duration – April and May of 2012 –was sought after still remains a mystery.

The records, albeit detailed, really only track incoming and outgoing phone calls, the phone numbers involved, the length of each telephone call, and personal and general phone numbers for AP staff members across the United States; namely, in New York, Washington, and Connecticut. Even still, the Justice Department snagged over twenty different phone lines from various journalists who had reported numerous stories and incidents concerning debatable governmental issues last year. Hence, it appears the aforementioned journalists were, in fact, targeted for a specific reason.

Nevertheless, the Associated Press is vehemently fighting back in what they believe is an unprecedented attack on the freedom of speech and the right to privacy. President of AP and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt stated: “the government sought and obtained information far beyond anything that could be justified by any specific investigation.” Pruitt is challenging the government to return all records obtained and the phone numbers therewith. Although the two month period seems relatively short, Pruitt is vexed by the fact that even such a small duration could easily expose intercourse with confidential sources whereby AP garnered many of their inside news stories. Such exposure would compromise the Associated Press’ entire proceedings of gathering information about the government.

In a response letter to Pruitt, the government revealed no information about how the information was obtained, and offered no explanation as to why the records were usurped as well. The records were, however, speculatively gathered in order to investigate specific reporters who supposedly leaked confidential information back in May of 2012. Even still, there was never any evidence that such obtained phone calls were ever monitored by the government. All such information, even still, is sheer conjecture.

What is known, however, is the story which was so highly contested by the government, back on May 7, 2012. Written by AP journalists, Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman –along with contributions from Kimberly Dozier, Eileen Sullivan and Alan Fram – these journalists exposed covert CIA action in Yemen, and their attempt to stop a supposed attempted terror bomb plot. The story shed a glimmer of light on some of the secret operations of the CIA, and how heavily involved the military is in the Middle-East and Africa regardless of what the main-stream media is propagating to the contrary. All of the aforesaid journalists who worked on the May 7 story were among the reporters who had their phone records seized by the Justice Department.

The Carnage Report // // 2013

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