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US seizure of journalist records called 'chilling'
AFP ^ | June 19, 2013 | AFP

Posted on 06/19/2013 7:19:42 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar

The US government's secret seizure of Associated Press phone records had a "chilling effect" on newsgathering by the agency and other news organizations, AP's top executive said Wednesday.

"Some longtime trusted sources have become nervous and anxious about talking with us," AP president and chief executive Gary Pruitt said in a speech to the National Press Club.

"In some cases, government employees we once checked in with regularly will no longer speak to us by phone. Others are reluctant to meet in person ... This chilling effect on newsgathering is not just limited to AP.

"Journalists from other news organizations have personally told me that it has intimidated both official and nonofficial sources from speaking to them as well."

Pruitt spoke one month after the US news agency revealed that it had been notified after the fact that the US Justice Department had secret subpoenas of two months of phone records from its news operations.

The AP has said US authorities appeared to have sought out the records as part of a criminal investigation into leaked information contained in a May 2012 AP story about a foiled terror plot.

Pruitt, who previously called the seizure "a massive and unprecedented intrusion" into newsgathering, said the Justice Department "violated its own rules" on how it handles investigations of leaks to news media.

He said the collection of records pertaining to more than 100 journalists was "an overbroad and sloppy fishing expedition" and failed to follow procedures on notification.

Pruitt said that authorities maintained that by notifying the AP ahead of the sweep "it would have tipped off the leaker" but argued "that kind of reasoning would apply in every single case."

This rationale would mean news organizations would never know when its records are being obtained, news sources would become less willing to speak and "the public will only know what the government wants them to know."

The Justice Department has told the AP "that our phone records have been and will continue to be walled off, protected and used for no other purpose other than the leak investigation," Pruitt said.

"We appreciate these assurances. But that does not excuse what they did. We need to make sure it doesn't happen again."

The AP chief said the US administration should reaffirm the right of advance notice to news organizations, and use the courts to adjudicate any disputes on whether certain records are needed.

He also called for a "federal shield law with teeth" to ensure that journalists are not prosecuted for doing their jobs.

"We do not dispute that the government has the right to pursue those who leak classified information," he said.

But he argued that "no one in this country should ever be prosecuted for committing journalism."

Last month, Attorney General Eric Holder said the leak which prompted the seizure of journalist phone records was a "very serious" matter which "puts the American people at risk."

Pruitt said Wednesday however that the AP waited five days before publishing the article, until after it had been assured by US officials that "the national security risk had passed.

The US administration under President Barack Obama has been aggressive in pursuing leaks of secret government information.

Authorities have said they had opened a probe into Edward Snowden, the former government contractor who leaked details about a cast US government electronic surveillance program.

Former CIA officer John Kiriakou was sentenced in January to two and a half years in prison for leaking the name of a secret agent implicated in harsh interrogations of Al-Qaeda suspects.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ap; apscandal; associatedpress; benghazi; fastandfurious; impeachnow; irs; partisanmediashill; partisanmediashills; tyranny
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To: Jet Jaguar

Folks are gonna have to brush up on their tradecraft, the “brush pass” , the “dead drop”,the “cut out” & “mail box”,”Moscow rules” and such. but what do you expect from a junta run by a Chicago thug .

21 posted on 06/19/2013 11:00:15 PM PDT by Nebr FAL owner
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To: Brad from Tennessee; Jet Jaguar; Fractal Trader; MestaMachine; Rushmore Rocks; Oorang; ...
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. . . . Check out # 18 .

Thanks, J.J.

22 posted on 06/19/2013 11:04:39 PM PDT by LucyT ("Once you've gone round the bend you've gone as far as you can go. ")
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To: ConorMacNessa
We'll wake up one morning and the jack-booted Brown-shirts of DHS will be in full and irrevocable control.

Full, perhaps, irrevocable, never.

23 posted on 06/20/2013 12:17:01 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
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To: Thane_Banquo

>> these are things dictators do right before seizing absolute power <<

worth repeating

24 posted on 06/20/2013 5:11:51 AM PDT by appalachian_dweller (Live each day as if it's your last. It might be.)
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To: Jet Jaguar

Mission Accomplished by The Dictator.

25 posted on 06/20/2013 5:32:37 AM PDT by chessplayer
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To: avacado

Obama won this round. He shut down the free press.

This round? He has won EVERY round very easily.

26 posted on 06/20/2013 5:34:41 AM PDT by chessplayer
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To: Brad from Tennessee
Obama effectively halted that investigation by ordering Eric Holder and the Justice Department to investigate. After interviewing hundreds of witnesses Holder's investigation found nothing, mainly because the leaks came from the White House and the DOJ probe was a farcical snipe hunt. However it wasn't a wasted effort because Holder was able to subpoena the AP’s phone records. With these White House operatives were able to identify many, if not all, of the AP’s confidential sources in the Obama Administration, in Congress and elsewhere.

Folks from Chicago play rough... they're out to make an example of the AP...

27 posted on 06/20/2013 9:09:57 AM PDT by GOPJ (... liberal anger, the privileged wheeze of entitled brats ... Greenfield)
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To: avacado; Jet Jaguar

” Obama won this round. He shut down the free press. “


28 posted on 06/20/2013 10:10:26 AM PDT by stephenjohnbanker
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To: Travis McGee

” The Plan: DOJ + NSA + IRS = KGB”


29 posted on 06/20/2013 10:11:35 AM PDT by stephenjohnbanker
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[Folks from Chicago play rough... they're out to make an example of the AP...]

Every daily newspaper, most radio stations, and every TV station in the U.S. is an AP member. The AP could bend Obama in half if they chose to. The problem is that AP management and most of their employees are ideological travelers with Obama.

30 posted on 06/20/2013 6:19:54 PM PDT by Brad from Tennessee (A politician can't give you anything he hasn't first stolen from you.)
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

AP exec sez it, this is sourced in the AFP. Kinda figures. Thanks Jet Jaguar.

31 posted on 06/20/2013 8:05:24 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (McCain or Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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