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SPYING ON THE AP

17 May 2013

SPYING ON THE AP

The NYTimes writes, “The Obama administration, which has a chilling zeal for investigating leaks and prosecuting leakers, has failed to offer a credible justification for secretly combing through the phone records of reporters and editors at The Associated Press in what looks like a fishing expedition for sources and an effort to frighten off whistle-blowers. On Friday, Justice Department officials revealed that they had been going through The A.P.’s records for months. The dragnet covered work, home and cellphone records used by almost 100 people at one of the oldest and most reputable news organizations. … Attorney General, Eric Holder said the leak under scrutiny, believed to be about the foiling of a terrorist plot in Yemen a year ago, “put the American people at risk,” (he called that leak “a very, very serious leak. … among the top two or three serious leaks that I’ve ever seen,”) although he did not say how, and the records sweep went far beyond any one news article. Gary Pruitt, the president of The A.P., said two months’ worth of records could provide a “road map” to its whole news-gathering operation. AFTER AP LEAK CONTROVERSY, WHITE HOUSE PUSHES FOR MEDIA SHIELD LAW FirstRead writes, “Under fire for secret subpoenas of Associated Press phone records, the Obama administration has asked a key senator to revive legislation that would enhance protections for journalists trying to protect their sources. … The shield law would insulate journalists from fines and prison time when they refuse to reveal their sources in court cases. It allows journalists to appeal to a federal judge when they don’t want to give up their sources to subpoena — and let the judge decide whether public interest in the journalist’s story outweighs the interests of the government.

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