OK

The thought that our tax agency would target anyone, regardless of ideology (almost spelled that as idiotology) is profoundly disturbing.

But that the Justice Department would secretly obtain the telephone records of AP reporters is even worse.

I don't know that the AP is any better or worse than any other media outfit, but damn it, the media is the only eyes and ears that we have on our leaders. When the DOJ goes after them with such a broad brush, it is going after me as well. And after you.

Yes, there were leaks of classified information, but there must be a better way to find the source.

From the AP via Mark Sherman of Talking Points Memo

The records obtained by the Justice Department listed incoming and outgoing calls, and the duration of each call, for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP.

In all, the government seized those records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown but more than 100 journalists work in the offices whose phone records were targeted on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.

Justice Department published rules require that subpoenas of records from news organizations must be personally approved by the attorney general but it was not known if that happened in this case. The letter notifying AP that its phone records had been obtained though subpoenas was sent Friday by Ronald Machen, the U.S. attorney in Washington.
Nor does anyone know if a judge signed off on the subpoenas.

This goes back to the foiled terrorist plot of last May, when the CIA blocked an attempt to get a pipe bomb on an airplane heading for the States. The story broke on May 7, 2012 after the AP delayed publishing at the government's request. But the phone records were obtained in April and May of 2012, which makes me wonder how hard the DOJ tried to investigate the leaks by other means. (DOJ is only supposed to use phone records when all other reasonable efforts to get information fail.)

We need to find out who leaked classified information, not only is it a felony, but it could endanger government employees and our national security.

But for my money, when you start vacuuming up telephone records of the press without first trying other means to find the guilty, you are endangering more than our national security, you are endangering our Constitutional protections.

Okay, so that may be a little over the top, but it is still stinks.

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