Author Topic: White House spying on Associated Press  (Read 1256 times)

Junkenstein

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White House spying on Associated Press
« on: May 14, 2013, 10:33:41 am »
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/13/ap-phone-records-government-intrusion-unprecedented_n_3268569.html?utm_hp_ref=media

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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, 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.

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 UK still can't get it's shit together over the Leveson Report yet the US seems to be having much better success with press control.
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Cain

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Re: White House spying on Associated Press
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2013, 08:09:09 pm »
Split because this deserves to be an independent topic.

Not least because it seems AP phone records were seized using National Security Letters, not via the usual legal methods.  In particular, the timeframe of the seized records seem to strongly suggest this has to do with St Brennan of the Signature Drone Strikes.

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/govt-obtains-wide-ap-phone-records-probe

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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.

Around the end of April, Brennan took over from JSOC on the drone program and rapidly expanded the scope and the input on the drone strikes other US agencies had.

In May, AP News finally released the story on the Saudi infiltrator plot, aka Underwear Bomber strikes back.  There was a huge row at the time between the White House and AP over that, as the White House kept delaying on making any kind of comment about a Saudi agent being responsible for foiling the plot, implying it was all hard work on the behalf of US intelligence.

Is that the smell of a grudge in the air?

Junkenstein

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Re: White House spying on Associated Press
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2013, 09:28:18 pm »
Hadn't even started to think through that angle. I was initially wondering about this being what's being admitted to so the likely scale and scope is surely much, much wider.

The AP needs to take this to the wall.
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Cain

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Re: White House spying on Associated Press
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2013, 11:32:52 pm »
AP have now said the records were taken via subpoena, not National Security Letter.

In related news, Wolf Blitzer, Journalist:

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Although if you look it from the other side, if there was a serious leak about an al-Qaida operation or whatever, they’re trying to find out who may be leaking this information to the news media, do they occasionally have the right to secretly monitor our phone calls?”

Although, if you look at it from the other side, if there was serious criticism of the Obama administration or whatever, they're trying to find out who may be making these accusations, do they occasionally have the right to beat journalists until they stop saying nasty things?

It's a serious and legitimate question.

Telarus

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Re: White House spying on Associated Press
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2013, 06:54:12 am »
Thanks guys, still wrapping my head around this new one...
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Cain

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Re: White House spying on Associated Press
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2013, 11:39:57 am »
Here's the thing: Holder and the DoJ say the leak about the plot was really very serious, "the most serious of Holder's career". 

A lot of the evidence points to John Brennan as being responsible for the leak about the British-Saudi infiltrator.  His slip-up in an interview led to Richard Clarke figuring out the real story.

John Brennan is in charge of the CIA, nominated by Obama and approved by Congress. 

So obviously, the only thing to do is go on a witch-hunt through AP's sources and find some small fry in a government office somewhere to be lovingly whipped by the press corps (directed by the White House) for all eternity.  Or something.  Everything up until the point where the government decides punishing and spying on AP will make this better makes perfect sense.  After that, I'm not so sure.

Junkenstein

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Re: White House spying on Associated Press
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2013, 12:04:06 pm »
Alright, the source is a bit unreliable at the moment:

http://outfront.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/13/white-house-responds-to-justice-dept-secretly-obtaining-ap-phone-records/

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The White House has responded to accusations that the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records for some of the associated press' reporters and editors.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said:

"Other than press reports, we have no knowledge of any attempt by the Justice Department to seek phone records of the AP. We are not involved in decisions made in connection with criminal investigations, as those matters are handled independently by the Justice Department. Any questions about an ongoing criminal investigation should be directed to the Department of Justice."

Which is exactly the kind of statement I'd make in this situation. "Don't talk to or blame us, talk to and blame that guy over there who we control"
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