Watergate Was For Amateurs: Justice Department Spied For Months On Associated Press Reporters

Tyler Durden's picture

And so the final curtain falls on the myth of what was supposed to be, in its own words, the "most transparent administration" in history.

As it turns out, the big Friday story of Bloomberg journalists snooping on clients was just amateur hour compared to what the AP was about to serve. In fact, the Watergate affair may soon appear like a walk in the park compared to the First Amendment shitstorm that is about to be unleashed following the just reported news that the US Department of Justice had "secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative's top executive called a "massive and unprecedented intrusion" into how news organizations gather the news."

First amendment? Freedom of speech and press? Surely not when it comes to the Nobel-peace prize winning President and those who dare to expose his secret ways.

And what's worst, is that the AP breach has all the makings of a spiteful hack driven by personal vengeance against one of America's premier news outlets.

We can't wait to see the rest of the not so conservative media stands up in arms and defend one of their peers against an administration whose utter disdain for all checks and balances puts Stalinist Russia to shame. Or perhaps it will be merely a case of "first they came for AP's reporters, and we said nothing..."

And while it has long been known that the NSA actively intercepts and records every single form of electronic communication, the unspoken truth is that the government can do anything it wants as long as it doesn't get caught. It just did, and not only in Benghazi, or the IRS fiasco, but in making a complete mockery of the First Amendment.

As the NSA whistleblower told Wired Magazine over a year ago, “we are this far from a turnkey totalitarian state", all we can add is "we are now in a full-blown totalitarian state."

And nobody cares.

The AP story which must be read to be believed:

The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative's top executive called a "massive and unprecedented intrusion" into how news organizations gather the news.

 

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.

 

In a letter of protest sent to Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday, AP President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt said the government sought and obtained information far beyond anything that could be justified by any specific investigation. He demanded 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.

 

The government would not say why it sought the records. U.S. officials have previously said in public testimony that the U.S. attorney in Washington is conducting a criminal investigation into who may have leaked information contained in a May 7, 2012, AP story about a foiled terror plot. The story disclosed details of a CIA operation in Yemen that stopped an al-Qaida plot in the spring of 2012 to detonate a bomb on an airplane bound for the United States.

 

In testimony in February, CIA Director John Brennan noted that the FBI had questioned him about whether he was AP's source, which he denied. He called the release of the information to the media about the terror plot an "unauthorized and dangerous disclosure of classified information."

 

Prosecutors have sought phone records from reporters before, but the seizure of records from such a wide array of AP offices, including general AP switchboards numbers and an office-wide shared fax line, is unusual and largely unprecedented.

 

In the letter notifying the AP received Friday, the Justice Department offered no explanation for the seizure, according to Pruitt's letter and attorneys for the AP. The records were presumably obtained from phone companies earlier this year although the government letter did not explain that. None of the information provided by the government to the AP suggested the actual phone conversations were monitored.

 

Among those whose phone numbers were obtained were five reporters and an editor who were involved in the May 7, 2012 story.

 

The Obama administration has aggressively investigated disclosures of classified information to the media and has brought six cases against people suspected of leaking classified information, more than under all previous presidents combined.

 

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.

 

Spokesmen in Machen's office and at the Justice Department had no immediate comment on Monday.

 

The Justice Department lays out strict rules for efforts to get phone records from news organizations. A subpoena can only be considered after "all reasonable attempts" have been made to get the same information from other sources, the rules say. It was unclear what other steps, in total, the Justice Department has taken to get information in the case.

 

A subpoena to the media must be "as narrowly drawn as possible" and "should be directed at relevant information regarding a limited subject matter and should cover a reasonably limited time period," according to the rules.

 

The reason for these constraints, the department says, is to avoid actions that "might impair the news gathering function" because the government recognizes that "freedom of the press can be no broader than the freedom of reporters to investigate and report the news."

 

News organizations normally are notified in advance that the government wants phone records and enter into negotiations over the desired information. In this case, however, the government, in its letter to the AP, cited an exemption to those rules that holds that prior notification can be waived if such notice, in the exemption's wording, might "pose a substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation."

 

It is unknown whether a judge or a grand jury signed off on the subpoenas.

 

The May 7, 2012, AP story that disclosed details of the CIA operation in Yemen to stop an airliner bomb plot occurred around the one-year anniversary of the May 2, 2011, killing of Osama bin Laden.

 

The plot was significant because the White House had told the public it had "no credible information that terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida, are plotting attacks in the U.S. to coincide with the (May 2) anniversary of bin Laden's death."

 

The AP delayed reporting the story at the request of government officials who said it would jeopardize national security. Once government officials said those concerns were allayed, the AP disclosed the plot because officials said it no longer endangered national security. The Obama administration, however, continued to request that the story be held until the administration could make an official announcement.

 

The May 7 story was written by reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman with contributions from reporters Kimberly Dozier, Eileen Sullivan and Alan Fram. They and their editor, Ted Bridis, were among the journalists whose April-May 2012 phone records were seized by the government.

 

Brennan talked about the AP story and leaks investigation in written testimony to the Senate. "The irresponsible and damaging leak of classified information was made ... when someone informed the Associated Press that the U.S. Government had intercepted an IED (improvised explosive device) that was supposed to be used in an attack and that the U.S. Government currently had that IED in its possession and was analyzing it," he said.

 

He also defended the White House's plan to discuss the plot immediately afterward. "Once someone leaked information about interdiction of the IED and that the IED was actually in our possession, it was imperative to inform the American people consistent with Government policy that there was never any danger to the American people associated with this al-Qa'ida plot," Brennan told senators.

Ah... the illusion of "freedom"

And below is a stock photo of a very busy Eric Holder. Well, at least busy when he is spying on the 4th estate. Not so busy when he is avoiding investigating and prosecuting Too Big To Prosecutve bankers for being instrumental in some $15 trillion in global asset transfers from the middle to the upper classes (and counting at a pace of $160 billion per month).

* * *

Finally, in parallel news, following a FOIA request by the ACLU to learn more about the government’s practice of reading people’s email, text messages, social networking feeds and other private electronic communications without a warrant, here is one of "informative" responses the ACLU received back from the "most transparent" Department of Justice.

 

 

Update:

Updates via Politico:

Pruitt's full letter to Attorney General Holder:

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.

We regard this action by the Department of Justice as a serious interference with AP’s constitutional rights to gather and report the news.

The Dept. of Justice has released the following statement:

We take seriously our obligations to follow all applicable laws, federal regulations, and Department of Justice policies when issuing subpoenas for phone records of media organizations. Those regulations require us to make every reasonable effort to obtain information through alternative means before even considering a subpoena for the phone records of a member of the media. We must notify the media organization in advance unless doing so would pose a substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation. Because we value the freedom of the press, we are always careful and deliberative in seeking to strike the right balance between the public interest in the free flow of information and the public interest in the fair and effective administration of our criminal laws.

House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa has released the following statement:

This is obviously disturbing. Coming within a week of revelations that the White House lied to the American people about the Benghazi attacks and the IRS targeted conservative Americans for their political beliefs, Americans should take notice that top Obama Administration officials increasingly see themselves as above the law and emboldened by the belief that they don’t have to answer to anyone.  I will work with my fellow House Chairmen on an appropriate response to Obama Administration officials.

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THX 1178's picture

"I am not a cook"

localsavage's picture

Obama has a free ride from the press and he is even going to fuck that up....classic

ACP's picture

You reap what you sow, bitchez!

The First Amendment...use it or LOSE IT!

francis_sawyer's picture

You gotta be fucking kidding me...

~~~

AP reporters are all 'Rothschild' flunkies...

Has ZH gone FULL RETARD?...

Say What Again's picture

Is there any connection to this story and the recent hack-attack of the AP twitter feed?

.

Makes you want to go back to using pagers, pay phones, & burners

The Thunder Child's picture

The Rothschilds own AP (Rothschilds purchased Reuters in the 1800s and Reuters purchased AP a few decades ago), The criminal families indirectly own the Justice Department through blackmail, secret socities and traitors so this is a load of BS propaganda.

Francis you are absolutely correct, idiot downvoters.

jaap's picture

this also explains the secret press meeting just before the white house press session with carney

McMolotov's picture

What's scary is that, as we sit here typing, people behind the scenes are likely working hard to come up with some new way to distract everyone from this.

They're gonna need a bigger pressure cooker...

The Thunder Child's picture

False Flags almost always happen at the beginning of the week, gives them days to loop that shit over and over to scare the public into giving up more freedoms. Keep an eye out on Memorial day...

redpill's picture

Just watch, some of these media leghumpers will STILL carry this traitor's water.  Unfuckingbelievable.

flacon's picture

JUSTICE Department is in which of the the three branches of government? 

a. JUDICIAL

b. Executive 

c. Legislative

 

??

 

answer: EXECUTIVE

The Alarmist's picture

You call this news?  The news would be the list of the dozen or so privat individuals and organisations that are not being spied upon.

TwoShortPlanks's picture

America needs to nuke.....itself!

francis_sawyer's picture

@Thunder Child

~~~

Thank you for your 'verification' [which any 'non-LAZY'] person around here could have done for themselves...

What's 'frightfully' odd, to me, are the number of times I get JUNKED by persons who go on to 'label' me as an emotionally reactive person... Only to find out later that my comment was 100% substantiated by FACT... Whereby, it's either <crickets>, or worse, about a week later they'll lash out in the same old way hoping to wear the victim down...

Kinda sad... I'm ESPECIALLY hated by the 'CheesePopes'...

TuesdayBen's picture

The Most Transparently Corrupt Administration in US history.

BigJim's picture

 The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative's top executive called a "massive and unprecedented intrusion" into how news organizations gather the news.

This is news? I thought Utah meant they're weeks away from doing this to EVERYONE EVERY DAY. 

The Thunder Child's picture

Every phone call, text, email has been recorded for years by the NSA. They were just running out of storage...which is why this AP/Justice propaganda article is a load of shit. They could quietly pull all the phone calls without anyone knowing the wiser just ask David Petraeus.

I was hiding behind a VPN for some time for surfing and posting, but I don't care anymore fuck them, I will not be scared or made paranoid....fear is the mindkiller.

I will stand up and my voice will be heard. I'm here in Toronto come get me fuckers!

kliguy38's picture

You will kneel to the Queen NOW peasant......and GROOM the stool........on the other hand, we're all dead anyway so might as well not going out being a coward to these scum

GetZeeGold's picture

 

 

 

 

How bad is it when MSNBC calls it tyranny?

 

I mean...it's freakin MSNBC for the love of pete!!!

Ident 7777 economy's picture

 

 

 

 

 The Thunder Child:

 

" Every phone call, text, email has been recorded for years by the NSA. ..."

Oh bullshit! I pulled off two armed bank robberies and BRAGGED about it to a friend over the phone and I'm still free!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

not

TwoShortPlanks's picture

That funny feeling you had just after posting your comment - almost a concern nobody [of importance] takes your comments seriously - is what's being worked upon right now; to keep people fearful, even in gest, so as to usher-in control....1984 style.

James_Cole's picture

"We take seriously our obligations to follow all applicable laws, federal regulations, and Department of Justice policies when issuing subpoenas for phone records of media organizations." 

To be honest I'm starting to get the sense that Eric Holder is not a completely honest guy.

Also, funny seeing zh quoting ACLU so frequently these days. A good 'funny' but one of those things I'd of thought commentators on here would be in a frenzy over.  

Richard Chesler's picture

Corruption you can believe in.

Forward motherfuckers!

 

boogerbently's picture

"massive and unprecedented intrusion" 

That's a pretty accurate description of how the "news media" operates.

Not so fun being on the receiving end, I guess !

DeadFred's picture

Who cares about bank robberies? Did you give contributions to Ron Paul?

TwoShortPlanks's picture

I'm only here to gather intel (IP, Mac Ads) on bloggers...I like getting junked.

Muddy1's picture

An open letter to all of you effers in the media:

 

You effers have been directly involved with promoting the need for more gun control.  How does it feel when your rights get infringed, FUCKERS??????  No lubricating jelly for you.

Ready to trade sides on the gun control issue?

buyingsterling's picture

President Puke and his salad tossers will still agitate for gun control. And these 'scandals' won't amount to dick. Has everyone forgotten that Obama is black? That makes him totally blameless. He will go down in history (according to the 'respectable' historians) as a harassed and henpecked savior. Count on it. A country capable of twice electing this piece of shit president isn't capable of holding him to account for anything. He's black. (repeat 'he's black' until you finally get it). 

Sabibaby's picture

While you collect packets, we're collecting bullets :)

TwoShortPlanks's picture

Guns and Ammo won't buy you a Backstage Pass at the Agenda21 concert, but Gold will. Not lots of it, just a solid belief in it, with actions and buying habbits supporting that belief.

There's more than one reason as to why the Gold price is within reach of the average person with conviction (globally), yet for the rest it seems to be either too expensive, or in a bubble.

Freedom Of Choice can be a bitch!

Look a little deeper: Central Banks today don’t have exit strategies because they’re not meant to have them. A CB is only as strong as the currency it prints, the rate it lends at, and the ability of that currency to rise once CB assets are resold (changes in the economy and standard of living can vary between buying and selling).

If you lease to yourself Gold you already own, then purchase it from yourself, so that you still own the principle Gold but are now owed the leased Gold as well, then you have doubled your wealth so long as the Gold cannot be obtained elsewhere (think Chinese & Indian buying pressure). If you do this while owning the currency with which the Gold was denominated in, thus supressing the Gold price and making it cheaper to buy, then, once the Gold runs dry you flood the market with the same currency, your wealth becomes a multiple of the underlying physical. If you do all of this and rehypothicate through the leasing process, you will own the principle Gold, a multiplier effect of your original wealth, and a value of debt which is an exponential of the principle Gold value.

The Gold may have moved, sure, but it's still mostly owned by the same entities.

Do you really think they care about the purchasing power of any currency?
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/we-are-going-to-kill-dollar-says-obama.html

Shell Game's picture

+79 

 

 

(on the periodic table)

TwoShortPlanks's picture

Please read my post above and then read this piece from William Kaye’s interview on KWN.
http://kingworldnews.com/kingworldnews/KWN_DailyWeb/Entries/2013/5/13_Disappearing_Gold_Inventories,_Financial_Collapse_%26_The_Fed.html
 

The reason there is no exit is as soon as they exit, or try, the system will collapse on itself [not until every ounce is hoarded].  The only thing keeping everything going in this fictional world is one trillion dollars per year, which almost exactly matches the size of the US government budget deficit.  This means until it does collapse it can keep going.  This is how it’s getting financed.

Then, take a look at what has happened in history when similar policies were followed.  Why would you want to own a currency that is being so thoroughly debased? [Coz it's about cornering Gold!]  And it’s not just the Federal Reserve.  The ECB is doing the same thing.  The Bank of England is doing the same thing, and the most aggressive culprit of all now is the Bank of Japan.

So that’s the setup.  That’s the real world.  Pay no attention to Hilsenrath, he’s just a hack.  Pay no attention to the bullion banks who keep putting out these bear market reports and low forecasts for gold, trying to scare everybody out.  These are the same people who are short gold [ and the same people who own the physical Gold, the CBs and the Currencies too].

ABN AMRO is one of the most bearish banks on the price of gold.  ABN AMRO has already defaulted on gold.  In other words, they don’t have any gold.  About one month ago they sent a circular out telling their own customers who own their paper which says, you own gold, ‘Don’t call us and redeem this paper for gold.’

So ABN AMRO doesn’t have any gold.  And if you check the public information, JP Morgan has almost no gold.  They are at modern era record lows in their warehouses.  The COMEX, as of the last report I looked at, had under 200 tons of gold.  That’s also a modern era record low, against enormous liabilities to deliver gold [rehypothication of the principle Gold].”

TwoShortPlanks's picture

And here: http://kingworldnews.com/kingworldnews/KWN_DailyWeb/Entries/2013/5/14_Global_Banks_Massive_Criminal_Conspiracy_In_The_Gold_Market.html 

 

Who has 400 tons of gold?  Goldman Sachs reportedly entered that order, but they don’t have 400 tons of gold.  Who has 400 tons of gold?  If 400 tons of (physical) gold is just lying around somewhere, why couldn’t ABN AMRO borrow it?  Why did they have to default?
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-04-30/cme-chairman-gold-%E2%80%9Cpeople-don%E2%80%99t-want-gold-certificates-they-want-real-product%E2%80%9D#comment-3516491 

That was the first sign that this was the new strategy, and we (central planners) are going to engage in the wholesale raid, the wholesale manipulation of the precious metals market.  We’re just going to scare the public out of this thing, destroy investor psychology, and we the elite, the insiders, will acquire more at these cheap prices.  And if the downside is there is a redistribution of tangible wealth from West to East, so be it.  So to sum up, Eric, this is a criminal conspiracy.”

 

The Thunder Child's picture

You're welcome, JDL and Hasbara have you pegged....I would start calling them what they are 'Luciferian'. They hide behind Judaism, Christianity, Muslim, Flying Spaghetti Monsters...if people knew they were satanists they wouldn't get very far.

Iocosus's picture

Indeed. It's hiding in plain sight. It should be obvious to whoever saw the Superbowl halftime ritual.

 

It's very real and people think we'll change it politically or by buying gold. They own the financial markets, in fact, they would never have accomplished so much without control of the markets, brought to the world through arch-demon Rothschild. We're battling spiritual principalities; the elite either believe they'll reign in hell or are possessed, or both. We know how the story ends, but in the meantime, things will get hairy and we will be forced to survive in a Doom-like world.

The great conspiracy is to make us believe they don't exist or to label us paranoid.

Clashfan's picture

The Thunder Child, of course, is right. The people ultimately in charge are luciferians, and what exactly, precisely is in charge is a luciferian system, period.

If you don't know this, you don't know much at all. Look into SRA for starters. Then learn what links all of the secretive societies. Then look at that fugly star on Izrahole's flag that never had anything to do with David. It did have a lot to do with the satanic Rothschild's door, though.

On another matter, does anyone know how Holder got his come-uppance in government? Why, by covering up the truth about Oklahoma City, of course.

Every single one of I'llbombya's appointments has been a nightmare.

AllWorkedUp's picture

Some of these guys hve you on "auto down vote" because you tell it like it is. This is a non-story, non-event. Good that ZH brought it up but ZH isn't MSM so the story goes nowhere. MSNBC will be on fullblow Obama tommorrow.

Henry Hub's picture

***It's Bush's fault.***

Actually it is Bush's fault. That evil little fucker started all the police state policies that we are faced with now. Obama has continued and increased them, so he is just as evil.

icanhasbailout's picture

That's pretty much exactly what I expect to happen. First, though, will be a false-flag nerve gas attack on the NYC subways which they are preparing as we speak.

Raynja's picture

no one discovered this, no one had evidence of the irs shit, and the benghazi incident was already laid to rest.

so the quesion is, what is happening/happened that is so damning that they are trying to hide it in a pile of shit a foot deep.  they are volunteering incriminating evidence against themselves.

 

officer: do you have anything on you that i should know about?

suspect: well i got this 20 sack, so you don't need to check the trunk.....

espirit's picture

[Place] Holder said: "I know what you did last summer".

Yawn (Juan).

FEDbuster's picture

Keep your eye on the ball in my left hand ......

NoDebt's picture

Agreed.

Do you think all this shit hitting in rapid succession is coincidence?  Do yout think that's air you're breathing?

NO WAY everything hits the fan like this by random chance.  This is gonna be one HELUVA show they've prepared for us to watch!

Skateboarder's picture

Everything they ever showed you on TV, it's gonna come true, bitchez.

nmewn's picture

@flacon

According to banker boy Senator Schumer there are only TWO branches of government...B & C...lol.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fG0Jpu9geWY