It may initially sound like a far-fetched question, but in hindsight it’s a valid query considering the cloak-and-dagger movements by the Justice Department.
And, journalists are asking, if the Justice Department can go after AP, what’s to prevent the Justice Department from snatching telephone records from other news organizations like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal or The Washington Post?
The government’s seizures will also make it increasingly difficult for journalists to do their jobs effectively because confidential sources won’t feel comfortable talking to reporters if they think their phone records will end up in a Justice Department file.
Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that he believes President Barack Obama owes the American public explanations for the seizure of Associated Press phone records.
“I don’t think anyone truly believes that the president has given us a sufficient answer for America, much less the press,” Rangel said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I think this is just the beginning and the whole idea of comparing this with Nixon, I really think is just, it doesn’t make much sense. But the president has to come forward and share why he did not alert the press they were going to do this. He has to tell the Americans, including me: What was this national security question?”
The Obama administration has always shouted from the rafters that it embraces, supports, and will fight to the death for civil liberties in America, and ironically, it’s now engaged in one of the most undercover breaches of civil liberties on record.
Journalists are naturally wary and uneasy of a government that now has access to dozens of telephone records of journalists who thought their associations with their confidential sources were private.
“I am deeply troubled by the notion that our government would secretly pursue such a broad array of media phone records over such a long period of time,” said Rep. John Conyers (D-MI).
Holder must offer a more detailed and solid account for why the Justice Department had to swipe the AP’s telephone records. He has a lot of explaining to do.