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US Government Monitoring Associated Press Phone Records 248

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the burn-the-witch dept.
Picass0 writes with distressing news from the AP wire, about the AP: "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." They obtained call records from a number of desk phones, and the personal phones of many news editors. The DOJ has not commented, but it may be related to the possibility that the CIA director leaked information on a foiled terror plot in Yemen last year.
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US Government Monitoring Associated Press Phone Records

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  • by msauve (701917) on Monday May 13, 2013 @06:06PM (#43715233)
    Laws are for plebeians, not patricians.
  • *Sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 13, 2013 @06:14PM (#43715283)

    It is time to fire the Attorney General. If he knew of this then he is a criminal. And if he didn't then he is an idiot. Neither are acceptable.

    • Re:*Sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 13, 2013 @07:05PM (#43715663)

      Some of us have been saying this exact sentence since 2011 when Fast and Furious broke and we found out that Holder was responsible for giving 2000+ guns to Mexican drug cartels, who then used them to murder hundreds of Mexican citizens (so far).

      Glad to finally have you on board!

      • by Mashiki (184564)

        Hundreds of Mexicans and at leas 4 Americans, including Brian Terry.

        • by Kohath (38547)

          Hundreds of murdered Mexicans are less important to the press than a dog riding on top of the family car.

    • Re:*Sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

      If Holder knew about Breuer's decision not to prosecute any bankers -- he did -- then he should fired for that alone. Unfortunately, Holder is in his position precisely because he did know this, and because he will uphold the law in as dysfunctional a manner as the administration desires.

      Sometimes I think the only reason they are getting away with this is because Obama is the President and liberals and progressives are unwilling to challenge him, and conservatives are secretly cheering the whole thing on. But secretly, deep down, I understand that this is all just fallout from September 11th 2001, and that the United States of America will never be able to go back to the way it was.

      Which is a big problem for the rest of us.

  • Change (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ArchieBunker (132337)

    Yeah some real change from the John Ashcroft days...

  • Warrant? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MasseKid (1294554) on Monday May 13, 2013 @06:19PM (#43715323)
    How is there no mention of if there was or was not a warrant for this in the summary? More over, how the hell does the TFA not even use the word once?
    • Re:Warrant? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday May 13, 2013 @06:51PM (#43715561)

      How is there no mention of if there was or was not a warrant for this in the summary? More over, how the hell does the TFA not even use the word once?

      These are not recordings of calls, they are records of what numbers were called at what time and for how long. It is has been long established law in the US that collecting this level of information does not require a warrant. This is the same sort of thinking that makes it legal to record the headers of email messages but not the text bodies.

      I think this area of law needs to be revisited, the amount of information that can be gleaned by looking at call records and cross referencing them with other databases is far beyond what the court could have envisioned at the time of the rulings that made such collections legal. But it isn't likely that we'll see any change on that front for a while.

      • by Obfuscant (592200)

        This is the same sort of thinking that makes it legal to record the headers of email messages but not the text bodies.

        No, it is the thinking that makes it legal to record the SMTP "MAIL FROM" and "RCPT TO" transactions for email, since that is the closest analogy to "what number was called from where and when". Email headers have a lot more information than that, such as "Subject", "In Reply To", etc...

        By the way, every mail server I have records the SMTP info. Illegal should this be?

    • Because the point is, with or without a warrant the tapping of the phones of journalists on this scale is terrifying. There is NO justification for behavior like this from our government. If they had a warrant its almost worse.

      • by Obfuscant (592200)

        Because the point is, with or without a warrant the tapping of the phones of journalists on this scale is terrifying.

        Had there been tapping, that would have been terrible. Perhaps you meant to say "with or without warrant the outright murder and torture of journalists on this scale is terrifying"? That would be a much better escalation of the matter into the hyperbolic.

  • oh darn... /s (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wierd_w (1375923) on Monday May 13, 2013 @06:32PM (#43715427)

    Seriously, the press is all over things like wiretapping, political intrigues, what kind of corn was in the president's bowel movement today (was it GMO corn!?), etc, and seems to think that this kind of 'microscope up the ass' intrusiveness is not only 'news!' But also "the public has a right to KNOW!"

    But, when somebody turns around and investigates one of THEM, "oh loaurd Jeezuz it's a fiar!".

    What's good for the goose, is good for the gander AP. When you shamelessly cram the microscope up asses, don't act insensed or surprised when you get the microscope colonoscopy too. Simply because your shiny little badge says "news", does not make you immune to the law, and you are *not* people of priveledge.

    Don't get me wrong, sunshine is good, and breaking stories about govt wrongdoing is healthy and good. Just don't foster an image of sweeping disregard for privacy, and due process while doing so, unless you want the same treatment for yourselves.

    Enjoy your DoJ probing. You enjoyed probing others, so its surely right up your alley, AP.

    • Everything you say about press hypocrisy is true. Nevertheless I'm glad they targeted the press, as it's probably the only thing that will get them to squawk about this.
      • They will squawk very little. You have to understand that the "media" is predominately progressive. It's sort of like when the Vatican is caught raping little boys. Catholics made little fuss over it (even though individually they abhor this act of evil) for the greater good of preserving the faith. The media is going through a similar process. They will not attack and institution that upholds their social beliefs.

        And before anyone screams Fox News is conservative bla bla bla. Yes, they're popular precisely

    • The press doesn't have any real power. I mean sure, there's the media, but they can't make laws and they only have as much influence as a casual reader is likely to grant them, which outside the UK isn't much. On the other hand governments intimidating and tracking reporters is a much more serious issue since what power the press does have relies entirely upon their ability to act with a free hand. Maybe not always an unbiased hand, but there are good reasons for them not to simply make up lies as a rule. T

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by wierd_w (1375923)

        Oh, without question.

        The issue I have with the press, at least as incarnated in the USA (and the group being probed in the story to boot) have a very nasty habit of convicting people in the court of public opinion on national television to drum up ratings, and then routinely failing to follow up with apologies when same people get aquitted, and those people they harm have long lasting public stigmatism from this practice.

        You can see that hand at work here, in fact.

        AP shrieks "Oh that wicked evil government!

        • by moeinvt (851793)

          99% of the time, the so-called "press" is simply acting as the propaganda wing of the government. I think THAT is when they are acting inappropriately.

          The First Amendment clearly elaborates the freedom of the press. The government can investigate leaks within the constraint of the law. They don't have and should not have the power to crack down on or intimidate the press as part of their war on whistle-blowers. The government commits CRIMES and tells LIES. They are not above the law and information sho

    • Re:oh darn... /s (Score:4, Insightful)

      by BitterOak (537666) on Monday May 13, 2013 @07:06PM (#43715681)

      Seriously, the press is all over things like wiretapping, political intrigues, what kind of corn was in the president's bowel movement today (was it GMO corn!?), etc, and seems to think that this kind of 'microscope up the ass' intrusiveness is not only 'news!' But also "the public has a right to KNOW!"

      The difference is, the press doesn't have the legal authority to compel telephone companies to provide call records. In fact, I suspect there are privacy laws that would prohibit them from turning that information over to the press. That's why we need to hold the government to a higher standard.

      • by wierd_w (1375923)

        Except when the press flagrantly violates those laws, and illegally accesses phone systems, installs malware, and deletes voicemail on dead people's phones, to get their scoops, like murdoch's newscorp scandal.

        Or, when they scolicit libeleous commentary for high profile criminal investigations, and diminish the defendent's right to a fair trial.

        Because the public has a right, somehow, to know things they aren't entitled to, and to ruin the lives of people involved in a high exposure court case with their op

        • by nbauman (624611)

          Except when the press flagrantly violates those laws, and illegally accesses phone systems, installs malware, and deletes voicemail on dead people's phones, to get their scoops, like murdoch's newscorp scandal.

          I don't know when the press has been caught doing that without being prosecuted. Either in the UK or US.

    • Because Journalists are irritating. The government claims to have the right to send a hellfire missile into your living room by command of the executive branch with no over-site from any other branch of government. We need to keep tight control of one of those 2 groups... I vote for the one with the nukes.

      • by wierd_w (1375923)

        And I agree.

        Where I disagree, is in giving the lesser one carte blanc as they transform legitimate journalism into a 3 ring circus, and incite controversy where there is none, and yes, incite violence and death, and get away with it.

        They BOTH need to be watched. The press functions best when the protections intended for the press are extended to anyone doing journalism, and not just their circlejerk buddies and friends. By preventing a "thin press line" (play on "thin blue line found in police depts) by a

        • First they came for the communists,
          and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist...

          Don't let your distaste for the victim blunt the horror of the crime. Either we stand up and say "No!" now, or later generations will look back upon this moment and ask why we didn't. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. There are so many cliche catch-phrases that describe exactly what we're seeing in our government today it's almost comedy that we let it continue. It's fucking obvious what is happening here.

    • by poity (465672)

      Do you feel the same way about Bradley Manning? Would he, too, be deemed a hypocrite by you were he to complain about the Army's investigation of him? Does the power imbalance between the press and government or between a soldier and the army not matter? Are you saying the government should be a press-watchdog as equally as the press should be a government-watchdog? I wonder how many of the people who modded you up are Manning supporters.

      • by wierd_w (1375923)

        Manning violated the law. Thus, he should be prosecuted.
        Manning performed a vital public service by outing dirty secrets.

        The two are not as dissonant as you may think.

        The problem is that it was illegal for him to release the information. By being illegal, the govt must punish him, or undermine the value of rule of law.

        Gandhi understood this well; if you are going to be dissonant, then accept the consequences with grace. It causes much more consternation to those that want to silence you, and you never lose

  • Awww, the press is upset that someone checked over their phone records. At least they obtained a warrant. The FBI appears to think that no such thing is needed when it's a common citizen that they want records for. How come the press is upset when it happens to them but seems to ignore the FBI doing it to others?

  • Look forward to big brother telling me when I can piss and shit.

  • Chicago (Score:5, Insightful)

    by anthony_greer (2623521) on Monday May 13, 2013 @08:27PM (#43716149)

    What did people expect when Obama took Mayor Daley's goon and thug squad to DC?

  • Relax, citizens. Stasi has only your best interests at heart.

  • by moeinvt (851793) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @06:46AM (#43718449)

    Warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens, torture, indefinite detention, war crimes, arbitrary assassinations, gun smuggling to drug cartels, facilitating financial fraud, etc. etc.

    And who gets punished for these crimes? The whistle-blowers who reveal the criminal activity to the American people.

    Government is a giant extortion racket with the same moral principles as organized crime.

Lo! Men have become the tool of their tools. -- Henry David Thoreau

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