Eric Holder gave authorization for monitoring Associated Press phone records

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.”

We regard this action by the Department of Justice as a serious interference with AP’s constitutional rights to gather and report the news.

Gary Pruitt, President and CEO of the Associated Press, in a letter (PDF) to US Attorney General Eric Holder.

The News, via 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.

The records obtained by the Justice Department listed incoming and outgoing calls, and the duration of each call, for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP.

In all, the government seized those records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown but more than 100 journalists work in the offices whose phone records were targeted on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.

As Declan McCullagh, chief political correspondent for CNET, points out, 28 CFR 50.10 (the Code of Federal Regulations) includes the following:

No subpoena may be issued to any member of the news media or for the telephone toll records of any member of the news media without the express authorization of the Attorney General… Failure to obtain the prior approval of the Attorney General may constitute grounds for an administrative reprimand or other appropriate disciplinary action.

So, evidently, Eric Holder gave his express authorization for monitoring of the Associated Press’ phone records. Besides the initial WTF, we wait to hear how this is spun to justify the intrusion.

(via futurejournalismproject)

Public Service Announcement / Kurt Vonnegut

Excerpt from the full article: Cold Turkey

 

FEATURE for “In These Times” » MAY 10, 2004

 

 

[VIsual added by TRC]

 

My government’s got a war on drugs.  But get this: The two most widely abused and addictive and destructive of all substances are both perfectly legal.
One, of course, is ethyl alcohol.  And President George W. Bush, no less, and by his own admission, was smashed or tiddley-poo or four sheets to the wind a good deal of the time from when he was 16 until he was 41.  When he was 41, he says, Jesus appeared to him and made him knock off the sauce, stop gargling nose paint.
Other drunks have seen pink elephants.
And do you know why I think he is so pissed off at Arabs?  They invented algebra.  Arabs also invented the numbers we use, including a symbol for nothing, which nobody else had ever had before.  You think Arabs are dumb?  Try doing long division with Roman numerals.
We’re spreading democracy, are we?  Same way European explorers brought Christianity to the Indians, what we now call “Native Americans.”
How ungrateful they were!  How ungrateful are the people of Baghdad today.
So let’s give another big tax cut to the super-rich.  That’ll teach bin Laden a lesson he won’t soon forget.  Hail to the Chief.
That chief and his cohorts have as little to do with Democracy as the Europeans had to do with Christianity.  We the people have absolutely no say in whatever they choose to do next. In case you haven’t noticed, they’ve already cleaned out the treasury, passing it out to pals in the war and national security rackets, leaving your generation and the next one with a perfectly enormous debt that you’ll be asked to repay.
Nobody let out a peep when they did that to you, because they have disconnected every burglar alarm in the Constitution: The House, the Senate, the Supreme Court, the FBI, the free press (which, having been embedded, has forsaken the First Amendment) and We the People.
About my own history of foreign substance abuse.  I’ve been a coward about heroin and cocaine and LSD and so on, afraid they might put me over the edge.  I did smoke a joint of marijuana one time with Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, just to be sociable.  It didn’t seem to do anything to me, one way or the other, so I never did it again.  And by the grace of God, or whatever, I am not an alcoholic, largely a matter of genes.  I take a couple of drinks now and then, and will do it again tonight.  But two is my limit.  No problem.
I am of course notoriously hooked on cigarettes.  I keep hoping the things will kill me.  A fire at one end and a fool at the other.
But I’ll tell you one thing: I once had a high that not even crack cocaine could match.  That was when I got my first driver’s license!  Look out, world, here comes Kurt Vonnegut.
And my car back then, a Studebaker, as I recall, was powered, as are almost all means of transportation and other machinery today, and electric power plants and furnaces, by the most abused and addictive and destructive drugs of all: fossil fuels.
When you got here, even when I got here, the industrialized world was already hopelessly hooked on fossil fuels, and very soon now there won’t be any more of those.  Cold turkey.
Can I tell you the truth?  I mean this isn’t like TV news, is it?
Here’s what I think the truth is: We are all addicts of fossil fuels in a state of denial, about to face cold turkey.
And like so many addicts about to face cold turkey, our leaders are now committing violent crimes to get what little is left of what we’re hooked on.
This appeared in Crossing the Rubicon in 2004 but it is originally from a book by Richard Duncan, called The Oil Crash and You in 2001.
Kurt Vonnegut, the legendary author, WWII veteran, humanist, artist and smoker, was an In These Times senior editor until his death in April 2007.  His classic works include Slaughterhouse-Five, Breakfast of Champions and Cat’s Cradle, among many others.
Indiana will forever be proud to call him a native son.  RIP, Kurt.

Women’s rights, Student Protests, Native American uprising / OWS Week 03-14-2012

Press TV’s new program; ‘OWS Week’ highlights 7 days of the protest movement’s happenings as viewed from American protesters’ eyes.
The program also examines the wide range of social issues addressed by the ‘occupy’ movement in the US.
Episode 8 sheds light on the 99 percenters struggle as expressed through Sacramento student protests against high education fees, Women’s rights rallies and the Native American dissenters.  Plus the OWS interview of the week, with journalist Gabrielle Price of The Refreshment Center.