Media Blast Feds for Secretly Obtaining Records on AP Phone Lines

    by Zach C. Cohen
    May 15, 2013

    The Associated Press announced Monday that the Department of Justice had obtained two months of phone records from its journalists in New York; Washington, D.C.; and Hartford, Conn. The DOJ sent the AP a letter last week stating that it secretly spied on 20 phone lines, some of which were used by five reporters and an editor who worked on a story about a foiled Yemeni bomb plot, which the AP believes may have been the unstated motive for the DOJ’s actions.

    Here’s a rundown, via Storify, how the story has played out so far.


    Zach C. Cohen is an editorial intern for PBS MediaShift. He is also the editor-in-chief of The Eagle, American University’s student newspaper, and a reporter for Latin Pulse, a weekly radio program on Latin American foreign affairs based at AU’s School of Communication. Get regular updates from @Zachary_Cohen on Twitter or on his blog.

    Tagged: ap associated press doj journalists storify surveillance twitter

    One response to “Media Blast Feds for Secretly Obtaining Records on AP Phone Lines”

    1. David says:

      While I completely get the outrage over this event and its chilling effect on journalists’ relationship with their sources, we do have to remember that this source committed a serious federal crime when he/she spoke with this reporter. This is not just a politically inconvenient “leak” or a “whistleblower”, it was a federal crime. And when the reporter agreed to hear this source, a crime was committed by the source, but it was the reporter who allowed it to happen. While I wouldn’t expect a reporter to turn in such a criminal to the authorities, should such criminal communications between sources and reporters be encouraged or discouraged in this country? That is the question.

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