The Associated Press confirmed this afternoon that the Justice Department secretly obtained months of AP phone records, including details of reporters’ phone calls to sources. AP attorneys report that the Justice Department accessed lists of outgoing and incoming calls from the wire service’s New York, Washington, and Hartford offices, along with records relating to the AP’s main phone line in the House of Representatives press galley.
In a statement, AP CEO Gary Pruitt said that “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.”
The Justice Department’s secret investigation is believed to be related to a story on an aborted Al-Qaeda bomb plot.