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.

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