AP President: U.S. Department Of Justice Is ‘Judge, Jury And Executioner’ When It Comes To Secret Spying


Gary Pruitt, president of The Associated Press (AP), told the National Press Club at a luncheon today that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) enjoys the luxury of operating with few systemic checks and balances when it comes to warrantless and secret surveillance, calling the Nation’s highest law enforcement office the government’s own “judge, jury and executioner” for breaking its own rules when it secretly culled the AP’s phone records.

Instead of notifying the news company that it had subpoenaed call records for more than 20 separate phone lines from its offices in three cities and working with the AP to hone in on whomever DOJ was targeting, Pruitt said the DOJ just made the scope of its seizure as broad as it wanted.

“There was never that opportunity,” he said. “Instead the DOJ acted as judge, jury and executioner in private; in secret.”

The fallout from the scandal, which galvanized the AP and other news organizations against the Feds and momentarily woke them to the myth of President Barack Obama’s “transparency” Administration, is strangling the relationship between news bureaus in Washington, D.C., and many of their cultivated sources from inside the government. Why? Government intimidation, said Pruitt:

The actions of the DOJ against AP are already having an impact beyond the specifics of this particular case. Some of our longtime trusted sources have become nervous and anxious about talking to us, even on stories that aren’t about national security. And in some cases, government employees that we once checked in with regularly will no longer speak to us by phone, and some are reluctant to meet in person.

This chilling effect is not just at AP; it’s happening at other news organizations as well.  Journalists from other news organizations have personally told me it has intimidated sources from speaking to them.

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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  • bwtanker

    the DOJ and the president is trying to take away our freedom of speech.It’s reporters that somewhat keep the government somewhat honest but if you make them fear talking to someone or being seen with them is taking away freedom of speech and their right to a certain level of privacy.I’m 61 and am hoping somewhat that i die before they are able to complete their job of changing this country completely and trampling all over the Constitution

    • Observer

      They already have changed the Country and they consider the Constitution irrelevant as well so instead of your wish for death, fight them and see if you can do something to rid the land of this disease. That would be something worth dying for. Don’t just give up. You will find so many who will join you. I am 73 and these thugs will have to kill me if they need to silence my criticism of them. They only think they are gods which they definitely are not! They are godless excuses for humanity and their sheer arrogance will be their undoing, wait and watch and you will see. Interesting times ahead – guaranteed!

      • k92509

        The Feds know the feelings of the patriots this is why they are trying to take our guns they fear an armed society as we are the last line of defense before thay can enslave us. It’s too bad the left can’t see the reality of what’s happening for when we go down they go down! At least we will be fighting they will be whimpering.

        • elevenarrows

          I don’t think the “left” can’t see the reality…I think they know and want this reality. Let’s all remember that “the Feds” can’t do anything unless they have the support of all the progressives running the nation. America has been headed this direction for many, many years. It is just surprising that this current administration has not gone to the lengths others have to wrap this evil agenda in patriotic robes. Unfortunately, we are surrounded by many people who, through ignorance or actual intent, long for the demise of a constitutionally-governed America. We should all be shouting from the mountaintops, calling it what it is, voting with our feet, sending the emails, writing the letters to the editor, and talking, talking, talking to everyone that will listen. I hope parents are actively attempting to re-program their kids from the government propaganda they’ve been fed…or better yet, pulling their kids out of the government institutions! Don’t tell me it can’t be done. I’ve taught as many as 9 grade levels per year while also running a business. It is a matter of priorities…and ultimately, life or death.

          • k92509

            But is this a true reality that the left embraces? I don’t think so. Their reality is conditioned using public school propaganda and that is all they know. Schools do not teach how to question only obey. . We haven’t had a decent public education since 1965.
            Since then all government and constitution studies have been abandoned and replaced by Political Correctness and Zero Tolerance that have erased all ambition to seek truth. Instead of teaching a well rounded curriculum public schools teach that it is OK to cede personally guaranteed rights in favor of security. In some states LGBT sensitivity classes are taught while dropping English and handwriting classes. Mathematics are taught using calculators with no pencil and paper calculations for proof. I was taught using a slide rule as well as paper computation.
            I was appalled to learn that my children were taught High school subject in college. We are nor progressing we are REGRESSING!!
            You say the Feds can’t do anything unless they have the support of the people. OK then why are we knee deep in scandal why are they eroding the Constitution why is it necessary to bypass laws with executive orders?
            We have been dumbed down to the point of being apathetic which, gives tacit approval that these actions are acceptable. How can anyone agree to something he or she knows nothing about? Transparency is a word used to misdirect the people away from what is really happening. Much like the fine print on a contract which is what actually meant and often overlooked.

          • Elevenarrows

            I agree with all you said, k92509. Thankfully, I received a private education that did actually teach the Constitution, Bill of Rights, founding documents, etc. I agree that, perhaps, in many cases it is ignorant acceptance of indoctrination through the government school system. However, having talked to many during the last two campaigns, I have to say that I think many are willfully ignorant. A large percentage of Americans just want as much “free” stuff as they can get and they’ll vote for whoever gives it to them. Of course, the powers that be know this and that is why we will never have protected borders. That is also why we will continue to have politicians who cater to fringe elements with no regard for the damage being done to our country.

  • carolchristine

    The President and DOJ forget that they are working for the people and not the other way around. The arrogance of this White House and is mind boggling.

  • Wellarmed

    4th branch of government my arse. Looks like the AP finally realized who they were in bed with, and we all know that there is no honor amongst thieves. I personally find it rather refreshing that the AP could get a taste of their own medicine. The AP have been looking the other way for a very long time, and they desperately needed to be bitch slapped as they did by their lord and chief to realize the foolishness of their actions or lack thereof.

    This President cannot steal, take, or forbid the exercise of our rights as guaranteed by our constitution and recognized by “THE” Bill of Rights ( A Global Document that we should require the UN to uphold as a condition of our membership ).

    Those that frame this discussion as an assault on the first amendment need to be corrected. This is an assault on the American People by our own government under the guise of national security. It is merely history repeating itself, and to fail at recognizing it, is to blindly accept our fate.

    It is long overdue for the AP to have their eyes examined; but it is better late than never. Lets hope the new found clarity also has the affect of sobriety for our country’s sake.

    • k92509

      It’s Too bad BSNBC and the other liberal propaganda machines haven’t wakened up to the fact the day they become a non asset to the DNC is the day they will be targeted as enemies of the state too.