Rushville Republican

Editorials

May 21, 2013

Our View: Seizure of AP phone records insult to independent press

RUSHVILLE — Distrust of government secrecy has been elevated to an exceptional level with the disclosure the Justice Department covertly examined two months of Associated Press phone records to determine who leaked details to the AP about a foiled terrorist plot.

This amounts to spying on an American news organization, common practice in dictatorships but scary conduct in a democratic system that prizes the public value of an independent watchdog press.

What makes this case so egregious is the Justice Department went about securing an array of phone records from at least 20 AP phone lines, including reporters and editors personal cellphones, without allowing the news agency an opportunity to object.

Furthermore, it violates the department’s 30-year-old subpoena guidelines requiring it to make “every reasonable effort to obtain through alternative means” information that might be included in the media’s phone records.

The Justice Department’s explanation that it complied with national security laws, and limited its review of last year’s April and May records to the phone numbers of the callers and not the content of the calls, is thin cover for this affront to the free press clause of the First Amendment.

The motive for wanting to know who talked to the AP is clear but it is also irresponsible. Justice Department sleuths were hell-bent on hunting down the confidential sources for the May 7, 2012, AP story about a CIA operation to stop an airliner bomb plot in Yemen.

Why this obsession with nailing the leakers? The story was an embarrassment to the president, who had assured the American people there was no credible terrorist threat last May, around the time of the anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden.

The AP held the story for several days when told by the White House it would interfere with intelligence gathering. But after assurances any national security risk had passed, the news agency published the story. The Justice Department hound dogs were close behind.

You may be tempted to dismiss as gratuitous wailing the news media’s concern over this serious breach of the constitutional wall between government and the press. But the chilling consequences of the Justice Department’s overzealous intrusiveness could well impact your ability to know what your government is doing or not doing on your behalf.

Whistleblowers and confidential sources critical to keeping the government honest and transparent are sure to be discouraged from sharing what the public has a right to know if the government can cavalierly snoop into the work product of the press.

The Obama Administration owes Americans the public assurance that its pursuit of leakers will no longer extend to secretly culling through the news media’s private records.

 

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • Court News CIRCUIT COURT Marriage Applications Shaun Andrew Curtis, 34, of Rushville, and Kwin Michelle Bryant-Romans, 35, of Rushville. Alonso Chavarria, 21, of Melrose Park, Ill., Danielle Nicole Bird, 31, of Carthage. Brian E. Paugh, 43, of Rushville, and An

    March 28, 2014

  • Our View: Seizure of AP phone records insult to independent press

    Distrust of government secrecy has been elevated to an exceptional level with the disclosure the Justice Department covertly examined two months of Associated Press phone records to determine who leaked details to the AP about a foiled terrorist plot.

    May 21, 2013

  • Our View: Public's right to know

    As state laws go, Indiana's Open Door Law and Access to Public Records Act have left their dentures in the glass on the nightstand.

    October 17, 2011

  • cartoon Our View: On immunizations

    Changes in the federal Vaccines for Children program will make efforts to get students inoculated even more of a challenge this summer and fall.
    Beginning July 1, students from families with health insurance won't be eligible to receive school immunizations through county health departments.

    June 17, 2011 1 Photo

  • Our View 050711

    An almost audible collective sigh of relief could be heard minutes before midnight Sunday as U.S. President Barack Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden, leader of the terrorist organization al-Qaida and the mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks against targets in the United States.

    May 6, 2011

  • Our View: Klan not welcome here

    A Morristown man was cited for littering earlier this week after leaving literature supportive of the Ku Klux Klan at several locations in and around Arlington and Rushville.

    April 29, 2011

  • Constitution Day 2010

    Each year on Sept. 17, the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, Americans are asked to stop and reflect on our system of government.

    September 16, 2010

  • Easy money led to market crash Maybe things had to get this bad before they could get better. A 500-point plunge in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the collapse of a major brokerage firm shook both Wall Street and Main Street to the very core Monday.

    September 21, 2008

  • Our View: On school building plan It is a given that the Arlington and Milroy Elementary schools in Rush County are both approaching 100 years of age, are outdated and are in need of replacement.

    January 13, 2008

  • Our View: Thanks for your efforts Another chapter in Rushville’s history will come to a close Tuesday when the Rushville City Council meets for the last time.

    December 17, 2007

Featured Ads
AP Video
Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.