Feeds

back to article Government admits seizing two months of AP phone records

The Associated Press reports that government investigators seized two months' worth of telephone records from its staff last year and hid that fact until now. "There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters," said CEO Gary Pruitt …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Happy

They have the authority

What is the big deal! They are trying to protect the US from terrorist and save lives. Safety DOSE require some sacrifices you know. A little freedom (the government to ease drop on its citizens and visitors) for a little more security from death and attacks by enemies trying to destroy US.

1
35
Silver badge

Re: They have the authority

Nothing like fear for letting a government remove your rights...

26
1
Childcatcher

Re: They have the authority

I suggest you look up what Benjamin Franklin had to say on the subject. It's rather interesting.

30
1
Bronze badge
Coat

Re: They have the authority

Franklin was correct in his thinking, however back then there wasn't air conditioning, fast food, or communication devices like we have today. If he was alive today, I don't believe he would of found the time to stop checking his email in a drive thru window on a hot summer day to make the statements he did. Even in that thinking, he was still correct to point, but is that point the point where we are at?

I have to wonder sometimes what we give up, and what others have never had. There is currently no bombs going off over our heads. There isn't multinational firefights occurring in our streets. Many homeless beggars pan handle daily enough to live on for days.

Is something growing ever wrong in our government, sure, like any other. Is it to the point were we need to load our weapons? I don't believe so. But maybe we also could be charged guilty of believing we should live in utopian polished perfect world, instead of the one we have.

2
18

Re: They have the authority

"They who can give up essential liberty for an iPhone and a Big Mac are spot on." Yeah, that's definitely what Benjamin Franklin would of(sic) said.

12
0
Silver badge
Unhappy

Who, oh, Ben Franklin...

Carlo Carlucci: It may interest you to know, we had another famous American diplomat staying here once: Mr. Benjamin Franklin.

J.J. Blodgett: Franklin? Oh, oh yes, Ben Franklin... Well, good man for his time. Of course, today, I'm not sure he could pass the security check.

I think that would probably be more true today than in 1972, when the above came out in the film Avanti...

Looking at how the US treats its citizens, I would say that the terrorists have won. :-(

18
0
Anonymous Coward

@MyBackDoor Re: They have the authority

"Is something growing ever wrong in our government, sure, like any other. Is it to the point were we need to load our weapons? I don't believe so."

Perhaps not "load our weapons", but certainly be outraged and protest democratically to exert the electorate's influence over our political leaders. Else we shall find that it is too late to "load our weapons", as the government will know exactly where the weapons are, who controls them, what their motivation is, and when they plan to act; they shall neutralise the threat before it can ever be realised.

Of course, that is precisely the argument they advance for being granted these powers.

10
0
Gold badge
FAIL

Re: They have the authority

"Franklin was correct in his thinking, however back then there wasn't air conditioning, fast food, or communication devices like we have today. If he was alive today, I don't believe he would of found the time to stop checking his email in a drive thru window on a hot summer day to make the statements he did. Even in that thinking, he was still correct to point, but is that point the point where we are at?

I have to wonder sometimes what we give up, and what others have never had. There is currently no bombs going off over our heads. There isn't multinational firefights occurring in our streets. Many homeless beggars pan handle daily enough to live on for days.

Is something growing ever wrong in our government, sure, like any other. Is it to the point were we need to load our weapons? I don't believe so. But maybe we also could be charged guilty of believing we should live in utopian polished perfect world, instead of the one we have."

Parsing failure.

Meaning unknown.

3
1

Re: They have the authority

Surely that is sarcasm. It has to be.

1
0
Silver badge

@Grumpy Gwen

No, it could also be schadenfreude, which is a close relative.

Although quite honestly, there's sufficient reason to believe there are legitimate processes and approvals in place for this. There was a security breach, the AP is known to have participated in it, and the government is empowered to investigate an prosecute those individuals who leaked the information, at least if they are in the US.

Maybe I'm jaded, but it seems to me the Banghazi hearings are starting to bite. We have bad news about the IRS and now the spying on the AP both trying to knock it out of the LSM headlines. Even Arias and the American Castro couldn't quite dislodge the revelations that are starting to come out.

1
0

Re: They have the authority

The issue isn't really about whether they should have that authority -- it is about what controls are on using that authoriy and who takes responsibility and feels consequences for using the authority.

It is very similar to the case here in the UK where the tax authority have admitted abusing their similar powers (designed to root out major criminal tax fraud conspiracies) to track down the whistle-blower who reported to a parliamentary committee that the head of the inland revenue had agreed a deal to let a major financial firm off their unpaid tax, after a nice lunch.

Should they have these powers? Probably. Should they be required to get a judge to approve? Absolutely (exceptions for urgent cases need to be genuine exceptions, not the rule). Should the senior manager who approves the request be fired if it is later determined the powers were abused (for example the judge was mislead)? Certainly. Should they be subject to civil or criminal penalties? In some cases, yes.

1
0

Re: They have the authority

Nice troll. Love the deliberate misspelling!

0
0
Bronze badge
Devil

Re: They have the authority...AND THEY DO NOT DESERVE IT!

We should give up NOTHING or the terrorists have won.

You would prefer that we give up the very principles that this country was founded on so we can be more "secure"? If that is so, then you do not deserve to be a citizen nor does anyone with similar defeatist attitude.

You should read more or if reading is too tedious, I can recommend "V for Vendetta" as a near picture perfect representation of where the USA is headed for under Obama's DOJ, emboldened by the Bush/Cheney "Patriot Act"..

ALWAYS look to the Israeli's for advice on terrorists. They do not negotiate with them, they obliviate them when ever practical. They don't play silly politically correct games or argue semantics when looking for the enemy.

They would never had let the Boston Bomber back in the country and would have fully believed the Russians warnings unlike our smug DHS morons (who all need to be fired).

The "underwear" bomber would never have gotten in this country and the 9/11 hijackers would not have had the chance to get on the planes that fateful day.

However, a bunch of pantywaist do-gooders say we can't use racial profiling when any pragmatic realist would argue that if it looks like an Al Qaeda terrorist and smells like one, then you better put them on the No Fly list or just shoot first and ask questions later.

Funny thing about the Israeli's...no one in their right minds ever wants to cross the Mossad the wrong way. They never seem to be heard from again and that's a "Good Thing".

0
0
Silver badge
Meh

Anyone Else

If it wasn't an extraordinarily invasive news outlet who had been subject to this I would feel different. As it stands I don't have a lot of respect for major press organs who get their dirty laundry sifted through. They do it to people all the time using unscrupulous, but not illegal, methods. When someone does it to they don't seem to like it so much. Boo hoo for them I say.

1
10
Silver badge

Re: Anyone Else

To be fair, sometimes the media does use illegal methods to raid other's privacy while crying about public interest...

3
1

Re: Anyone Else

Absolutely. And, of course, the guv'mint (any guv'mint - of any stripe or colour) must be permitted every available option to maintain the public view of their integrity, and to block the abominable and pernicious activity of the press.

Even now I can feel my desk being rapped by a certain Mr Nixon, applauding your support of his views of Messrs Woodward and Bernstein.

(Yes - I know. It's from Wikipedia. I'd apologise, but I probably woudn't mean it... :-P):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watergate_scandal

"Relying heavily upon anonymous sources, Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncovered information...

In one of their last meetings... Felt cautioned Woodward... not to trust their phone conversations to be secure...."

3
1
Silver badge

@Peladon

If the AP had gone after The Big 0 for Benghazi the way they did Nixon for a stupid set of debate papers you might have a point. But near as I can tell, nobody died as a result of Nixon's debate papers malfeasance.

2
1

Re: @Peladon

@Tom 13 - And I don't necessarily disagree.

But for me, there is still the question of 'who decides if and when actions of this type should be taken - and why?'

If we accept that the government has that sole authority - @curly4 'They have the authority', and can utilise that authority prior to any press activity and in order to impede or punish such activity, there is nothing to say Richard Milhous couldn't have done the same, with the same authority. And Watergate could, under and utilising that authority, have been made to remain an obscure break in by persons unknown for reasons of little importance.

If we accept that a 'security breach' (your own comment) justifies actions of this type, then Felt committed such a breach. If we therefore accept that the press should have in some way refused to carry out the investigation and subsequent publicationh because such a breach was involved - we have the same result as in my previous paragraph.

The AP's records were apparently seized _after_ AP had cooperated with authorities ('At the request of the government, AP held off on publishing the story initially, after being warned it was a national security issue'). Apparently the AP only published when it appeared the only impediment was the government wanting to speak first ('but then declined to wait until the Obama administration had made an official statement on the matter').

Based on the presented data, I do not see anyone dying as a result of the AP's actions. I do not see the AP breaching any request based on national security. I do still see the records being seixzed - but tha'ts probably fine. After all, nobody would ever misuse them, would they?

Of course, I'm an Idiot....

2
0
FAIL

Re: @Peladon --"nobody died as a result of Nixon's"

And how many died because of Nixon's treasonous backdoor messages to North Vietnam to undermine peace initiatives so he could win the election? That lengthened the war and killed many more. Know your history before you make stupid comments.

0
0

Re: @Peladon --"nobody died as a result of Nixon's"

@DanceMan

With respect sir, the comment about deaths was in direct context of the comparison between Watergate and Benghazi. Not in respect of every action he ever took. However, if you choose to make that comparison, I suspect a case could be made that every US President in history has taken actions of some kind that resulted in the deaths of Americans, or that some Americans would, in both hindsight and their own views, consider treasonous.

The value of such a global conclusion is, to me at least, a little debatable. Of course - I'm an Idiot :-).

0
0

Re: @Peladon --"a case could be made that every US President in history"

This was not a case of a President using back-channel communications, this was a candidate for office communicating with an enemy in time of war to undermine a possible settlement. Don't minimize it.

0
0
Bronze badge
Holmes

Look at the track record

The record is absolutely clear. The people with political power and weapons kill more innocent victims than the people who only have the weapons. It's a little like the kind word with the fun versus the kind word alone. In theory, the press is supposed to help keep the politicians in line. ROFLMAO.

5
0
Silver badge

Re: Look at the track record

"The people with political power and weapons kill more innocent victims than the people who only have the weapons."

By 4 orders of magnitude - conservatively. As a general rule, governments are the only terrorist organizations on Earth - everything else is just background static.

1
0
Bronze badge
Devil

Re: Look at the track record (EXACTLY)

Folks,

To paraphrase, a wise man once said that "You will only begin to recognize the need for the Second Article of the Constitution when they come to take away the First".

I believe that ANY attack on the Constitution of these United States, is an act of Treason and should be treated as such.

Here within just a couple of years, we have had multiple such incidents that are beginning to make Richard Nixon look like a choirboy. Honorable mention to DOJ v Aaron Swartz, the Benghazi coverup, various attacks on gun ownership in direct violation of at least 4 Constitutional amendments, now what amounts to unauthorized wiretapping of 20 journalists phones (just the phone records my ass), oh and the IRS being used to squash any dissenting point of view.

Who know what else they've done that we haven't found out yet

We no longer need to fear terrorism, we must now learn to fear our own government.

Remember, War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.

2
0

So, use an overseas VOIP provider based somewhere with reasonable laws… Iceland was looking good IIRC...

2
1
Anonymous Coward

Remember citizens

So far this year, more toddlers have killed people than terrorists have.

7
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Remember citizens

So does that mean the government is doing a good job in foiling terrorist plots?

3
2
Joke

Re: Remember citizens

So far this year, more toddlers have killed people than terrorists have.

The Government should ban toddlers!

1
0
Bronze badge
Boffin

Them vs. them

So? The corporate gov't is keeping tabs on the corporate news org? Please move along ... nothing new to see here.

1
2
Bronze badge

Just further proof that the US Constitution isn't worth the half rotten parchment it was penned upon today.

6
2
Silver badge
Thumb Down

Bright future

Eventually, there will be freedom of expression, but no freedom of (obtaining) information. A good recipe for honest, informed discussions and a good basis for democracy. NOT.

4
1
Anonymous Coward

The article is titled "GOVERNMENT ADMITS SEIZING TWO MONTHS OF AP PHONE RECORDS", but the content only talks of the AP's claims. Where is the alleged government admission?

0
1
Bronze badge

From the Guardian:

"The US attorney's office for the District of Columbia confirmed on Monday that subpoenas had been issued for phone records. "

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/14/associated-press-phone-records

1
0

Welcome the dread spawn of the Patriot Act

I feel them reading as I type (yes, I'm either that self-important, or that aware that all wires lead to an NSA server somewhere). It's akin to having a little cockroach-like buddy on my shoulder who claims he is making things cleaner, instead of more disgusting. So, yeah, the AP thing is completely similar, except not at all. Anyway, got some typing in.

6
1
Anonymous Coward

AP is a known shill

Come on - AP is a known US government shill - it's basically it's news fabrication/propaganda department. This so-called "leaked" is just an attempt to lend credence to the claims that there was a bombing attempt in the first place.. Same thing as the DoD "failed attempt" to stop the publishing of the book about Bin Laden raid.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.