The national security breech crisis was one the White House decided they couldn't waste. They could use it as the rational to send a chilling message to the press. And they could use the telephonic record to make a list of all AP’s Washington sources and retaliate when unfavorable stories appear.
What's really scary for the affected AP personnel is that they don't know how far investigators might have delved and continue to delve into both their professional and personal lives.
They were spying, looking for leads to wbistleblowers pure and simple. Brennen TOLD numerous people including press and past officials the details that were later reported. That is how the story got out. He testified he made the calls.
Jugears is a paranoid narcissist. They need to control the press. Intimidation.and threats keep em in line.