AP opposes ‘unprecedented intrusion’ into news network
The Associated Press (AP) has termed the US Justice Department’s tapping of its telephone records as a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into the news organisation’s news work. The Department secretly gathered two months worth of telephone records of the agency’s reporters and editors.
The government collected the information for 20 phone lines in April and May 2012. The AP says it is not known how many journalists used the phone lines at the company’s offices in New York, Washington, D.C., and Hartford, Connecticut, but it may well be that more than 100 journalists used these lines during that period.
AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt sent an angry letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, demanding 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.