No justification for scope, secrecy of AP phone probe

The U.S. Justice Department badly abused its authority last year when it secretly obtained two months’ worth of telephone records of journalists working for the Associated Press. The records were apparently part of an investigation into the leak of classified information, but the number of people and records targeted – which included the personal phone records of some AP employees – is unprecedented in recent years. “There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of the Associated Press and its reporters,” AP president and CEO Gary Pruitt wrote in a letter this week to Attorney General Eric Holder (in photo). As Pruitt noted, the records could “disclose information about AP’s activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know.”