Via Al Jazeera:
The US government reportedly secretly seized telephone records of reporters and offices belonging to Associated Press news agency for a two-month period last year, the agency has said.
The Associated Press on Monday described the action, which targeted its correspondents, as a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into news-gathering operations.
AP Chief Executive Gary Pruitt, in a letter posted on the agency’s website, said the AP was informed last Friday that the Justice Department gathered records for more than 20 phone lines assigned to the agency and its reporters.
“There can be no possible justification for such an over-broad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters,” Pruitt said in the letter, which was addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder.
An AP story on the records seizure said the government would not say why it sought the records.
But it noted that US officials have previously said the US Attorney’s Office was conducting a criminal investigation into information contained in a May 7, 2012, AP story about a CIA operation in Yemen that stopped an al-Qaeda plot to detonate a bomb on a plane bound for the US.
In testimony made 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 “unauthorised and dangerous disclosure of classified information”.
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