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  (Source: Fits News)
Government hunts for source of leaks inside its ranks, tramples freedom of press

A federal judge approves sweeping subpoenas of over 20 phone numbers associated with a top national journalist organization, hunting for the source of government leaks to the press.  No, this isn't a tale of Soviet Russia (or Putin-era Russia); it's the story that's breaking here in the "land of the free".

I. Big Brother is Watching the Press

In an outraged letter to U.S. Attorney General (AG) Eric Holder, the Associated Press, one of the nation's largest news organizations, accuses the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) of a potentially serious violation of freedom of the press.  According to the letter from Gary Pruitt, records from 20 phone lines -- including personal phones of AP editors/columnists and AP business phone numbers in New York; Hartford, Connecticut; and Washington -- were subpoenaed in a "massive and unprecedented" attempt to monitor on the press.

Mr. Pruitt writes [PDF]:

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.

He demanded that the DOJ return all records collected and destroy all copies of them.

Associate Press
President Obama's Justice Department stands accused of spying on AP offices and staffers.
[Image Source: Getty Images]

The DOJ defended its actions in a statement, commenting:

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.

The AP was not told why the records were subpoenaed, but it is aware that some of the employees whose records were subpoenaed were involved in a story in which an undisclosed government official leaked an account of a foiled May 2012 bomb plot on an aircraft flying into the U.S.

Eric Holder
Fresh off outrage over his support of drone death strikes on Americans on U.S. soil, AG Eric Holder has another controversy to contend with. [Image Source: AP]

Analysts say that the Obama administration has pushed the limits farther than any administration before it in hunting for leakers in its ranks with surveillance and subpoenas.

II. The Hunt for Leakers

In this case there has been no signal yet that the feds wiretapped the reporters in question.  However, some top politicians are already questioning the Obama administration's "Big Brother" tactics.  Comments Michael Steel, spokesperson for Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Speaker of the House, "The First Amendment is first for a reason.  If the Obama administration is going after reporters' phone records, they better have a damned (sic) good explanation."

President Obama
President Obama has been frustrated with leakers in his ranks. [Image Source: AP]
Ben Wizner, the head of the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, also sounded off against the spying, commenting:

Obtaining a broad range of telephone records in order to ferret out a government leaker is an unacceptable abuse of power.  Freedom of the press is a pillar of our democracy, and that freedom often depends on confidential communications between reporters and their sources.

The development even made some members of the President's own party queasy.  Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Verm.) commented, "I am very troubled by these allegations and want to hear the government's explanation.  The burden is always on the government when they go after private information -- especially information regarding the press or its confidential sources.  I want to know more about this case, but on the face of it, I am concerned that the government may not have met that burden."

The Obama administration has dramatically increased warrantless surveillance in the U.S. on American citizens over the last five years in the name of fighting "crime" and "terrorism".  However, it came under scrutiny this last week when it was revealed that the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeted members of the Tea Party and other pro-change groups with tax audits.  It should be interesting to see how the Attorney General and President Obama justify these latest actions in weeks to come.

Sources: AP [PDF], ACLU

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RE: It's not DailyTech, it is not DailyPolitics!
By AntiM on 5/14/2013 10:31:24 AM , Rating: 1
Government interference in how news agencies gather and report information is bad...mmkay?

As for the President,
It's called ACCOUNTABILITY. The President is the head of these organizations. If he wants to stop being trapped in these scandals, he should start firing the people that are running these agencies. He should hold them accountable. His lack of action shows his complicity with their actions.

RE: It's not DailyTech, it is not DailyPolitics!
By kerpwnt on 5/14/2013 11:11:37 AM , Rating: 2
I nominate Eric Holder for the first firing. Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't Eric Holder been tied to:

1. Selling/giving "assault weapons" to Mexican cartels(Fast and Furious). Either he is directly involved and/or he is blocking investigations related to the program.
2. A memo stating that drone strikes would be acceptable on U.S. soil under certain circumstances.
3. Refusal to bring criminal charges against employees of banks that are "too large."

He should bring a shred of justice to the Department of Justice by tendering his resignation.

By omgwtf8888 on 5/14/2013 11:34:29 AM , Rating: 2
I really agree with everything you said! I believe one of the single biggest things that Americans crave is justice. We are tired of seeing criminals walk free or get sentenced to club fed so they can brush on their golf game. Eric Holder has been in charge of the Deparment of JustA$$!

By Belard on 5/15/2013 6:02:43 AM , Rating: 1
Fast & Furious was already in operation. There are screw ups but it was to help track down guns/drug dealers. Hey, not sure what the deal is. See screaming red-necks trying to buy guns off of people who are in line to give them to the police for gift-cards and have the weapons destroyed.

2 - Drone and other laws that are NOT good for the USA were started under the patriot act. It wasn't good to begin with... that can of worms was opened. But *IF* a terrorist wasn't killed... you'd be complaining about that too.

3 - The DEM/Obama have pushed for laws in order or BANKS to pay their OWN insurance for the next crisis (meanwhile, we have state laws that require us to buy auto and home insurance - WTF)... the GOP shot that down. So the next bailout will come from us.

The Dems have pushed for laws that would punish companies who send jobs over-seas. You know - like what Mitt Romney's company Baine Capital does. GOP filibustered that one too... yep, we need jobs - so lets continue to give big companies TAX breaks for sending OUR jobs to China, India, etc.

So by all means.. what has the GOP done for America? The very words out of their mouths ON VIDEO proves they are traitors. They said "Our #1 job is to make Obama a one term president" - huh, what? Thought your #1 job was to the people of the USA? So they spend most of their time doing NOTHING.

NOTHING... they get paid boat loads of money to speak bullshit and shit on their hands and say "boohoo, we didn't get the 1% their tax breaks".

GOP is looking for another war... or sometimes not. Lets spend more money we don't have.

RE: It's not DailyTech, it is not DailyPolitics!
By Nfarce on 5/14/2013 11:23:38 AM , Rating: 5
Obama hasn't been accountable for ONE SINGLE THING in the four years and four months he's been in office. Every failure on his watch is either tried to be covered up completely or spun into a blame-the-GOP/Bush campaign.

By half_duplex on 5/14/2013 11:48:52 AM , Rating: 5
He's untouchable like Elliot Ness. Maybe more so than Clinton.

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING will ever stick to this guy.

And we all know why.

By karimtemple on 5/14/2013 1:14:42 PM , Rating: 2
Because he's so handsome.

By Spuke on 5/14/2013 1:46:30 PM , Rating: 2
"But, but you're Black."

By inperfectdarkness on 5/16/2013 3:53:30 AM , Rating: 2
Even if Herman Cain is a womanizing playboy, he still would have done 1000x better than Obama.

Leave it to the African-American community to denigrate someone for "not being black enough." Happened with Cain. Happened with RG3. Successful black men who don't buy into "the man keeping me down" really deflate the myth of oppression that Sharpton & company are desperately trying to keep alive. That's why they generate such a negative backlash among their own ethnic group.

It's really the same reason that the Arab/Muslim world wants to keep the Palastinians homeless; it plays into anti-semitism much better.

RE: It's not DailyTech, it is not DailyPolitics!
By Belard on 5/16/2013 5:11:46 PM , Rating: 2
Herman Cain is a complete moron a very crazy individual. Mini of his ideas and speeches that fools like, came from movies.

Seriously it's embarrassing. The GOP has become the party of the stupid and crazies.

By inperfectdarkness on 5/17/2013 12:44:52 AM , Rating: 2
Replace "Herman Cain" with "Barak Obama" and "GOP" with "Dem"; NOW your post actually makes sense.

By Armageddonite on 5/14/2013 6:47:34 PM , Rating: 2
Of course not. And we all know he's directly responsible for everything from the crucifixion to the fiery end of the earth 5 billion years from now when the sun blows up. Right?

In order to hold him accountable for something, it helps if there's some indication that he had anything to do with it. And no, lack of evidence does not prove a conspiracy.

RE: It's not DailyTech, it is not DailyPolitics!
By Nfarce on 5/14/2013 7:24:08 PM , Rating: 2
Drama queen much? Hey, you liberals on the left blamed BUSH for everything that happened on his administration, so it now goes for OBAMA. The buck stops at his desk (well maybe the buck gets wasted more at his desk, but you get the point), remember? By the way, be my guest and point out one single thing Harry Reid, Nanny Pelosi, or Obama himself who have acknowledge a FAILURE on their watch that was their policy and/or idea. Just ONE.

Obama and the Democrat liberals that voted for him want all the glory and perks of a Democrat presidency, yet do not want to acknowledge one single failure on their watch...and are quick to take complete credit for something that was started on the Bush watch, like the Iraq War withdrawal timetable, the auto bailouts, etc.

RE: It's not DailyTech, it is not DailyPolitics!
By laser_cow on 5/14/2013 8:26:32 PM , Rating: 2
ok you're right ... we'll blame Bush for being war criminal, killing thousands of innocent lives, and oh yeah, the worst economic crash in 80 years ....

then we'll blame Obama for recovering all that bailout money Bush threw out to Wall St. unaccountable ....

and turning the stock market around in half the time it took Republicants to ruin it, saving MILLIONS OF AMERICANS RETIREMENTS... and then we'll blame Obama for taking an economy losing over 600,000 JOBS PER MONTH under Bush, to one GAINING OVER 150,000 JOBS PER MONTH ... oh and in the interim he killed Bin Laden, stopped health insurance companies from abusing seniors and pretty much everyone else, saved the American auto industry when the GOP was saying let it die since no private investors would help ( therebye saving millions of American jobs ).

Yeah, we'll blame Obama for that.

By Skywalker123 on 5/15/2013 10:14:38 AM , Rating: 2
Obama has continued and extended Bush's warlike policies.

RE: It's not DailyTech, it is not DailyPolitics!
By Belard on 5/15/2013 5:53:09 AM , Rating: 1
Really? The GOP has done such a good job? Remember where we were headed? Huh?

What has the GOP gone in 4 or even 8 years?

GOP is nothing but the party of bigots and stupid stupid people who don't know what a "smart phone" is, cry about their guns and shit their pants when they see a black guy with a gun (the 2 fake Panthers), against womens rights, against gay rights, against anyone's rights who is not a white christian.

Name a GOP jobs bill that wasn't just in name to relax pollution controls or tax breaks to super-rich (fossil fuels) companies.

Obama = ordered OBL killed. While Bush said "He's not that important".

By Skywalker123 on 5/15/2013 10:22:08 AM , Rating: 2
Obama = ordered OBL killed. While Bush said "He's not that important".

He wasn't important at all, he was no longer running Al Queda and wasn't even in the loop. Killing him had absolutely no effect on Al Queda. He was basically under house arrest in Pakistan. You think the ISI didnt know where he was? lol

By ven1ger on 5/17/2013 5:17:04 AM , Rating: 2
That's kind of funny, why did we invade Afghanistan?

Osama bin Laden remaining alive after our invasion of Afghanistan demonstrated to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda how ineffective our military might was when we couldn't even kill the one person that was directly responsible for ordering the attack. Why do you think Al-Qaeda never ran out of volunteers for suicide bombers.

By Shadowself on 5/14/2013 9:41:41 PM , Rating: 2
The U.S. President is not over the judge who authorized the subpoena. He couldn't fire that judge if he wanted to do so.

As you probably know, there are three distinct and separate branches of the U.S. Government. The U.S. President does nominate federal judges, but the legislative branch gets to veto (or approve) those nominations as it sees fit. Thus both non-judicial branches get their say as to who gets to be a federal judge.

If the USAG asks for subpoenas (for whatever reason) and the judge approves them then it is on that judge.

AGs and prosecutors ( federal, state and local) routinely ask for all kinds of subpoenas to go on fishing trips. Hell, it happens all the time in civil cases too. It is up to the judge to approve or disapprove the subpoenas in accordance with the laws and constitutions (including the relevant state constitution if it is applicable).

Prosecutors, defense attorneys and lawyers on both sides of civil cases push the boundaries of what is allowed ALL THE TIME! To some twisted extent in the U.S. legal system it is each of these persons job to see how far they can go in support of their case. (The U.S. legal system is absolutely NOT about justice. It's about winning any way you can.) It is the judge's job to deny those that cross the line.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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