Fed Monitoring of Terror-Related Phone Calls Finally About to Get Some Attention


My Twitter feed has become almost totally consumed by reaction to today’s story about the government obtaining records of phone calls made by AP reporters:

The records obtained by the Justice Department listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters….In all, the government seized the records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012.

….The government would not say why it sought the records. U.S. officials have previously said in public testimony that the U.S. attorney in Washington is conducting a criminal investigation into who may have provided information contained in a May 7, 2012, AP story about a foiled terror plot. The story disclosed details of a CIA operation in Yemen that stopped an al-Qaida plot in the spring of 2012 to detonate a bomb on an airplane bound for the United States.

The government has been obtaining phone records like this for over a decade now, and it’s been keeping their requests secret that entire time. Until now, the press has showed only sporadic interest in this. But not anymore. I expect media interest in terror-related pen register warrants to show a healthy spike this week.

That could be a good thing. It’s just too bad that it took monitoring of journalists to get journalists fired up about this.

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