Associated Press’ president Gary Pruitt on Wednesday slammed the Department of Justice for acting as “judge, jury and executioner” in the seizure of the news organization’s phone records and he said some of the wire service’s longtime sources have clammed up in fear.
Pruitt said the department broke its own rules with the seizure, which he said was too broad, and by failing to give the AP notice of the subpoena. Pruitt questioned the DoJ’s actions concerning the subpoena — had the DoJ come to the news organization in advance, “we could have helped them narrow the scope of the subpoena” or a court could have decided, he said.
“There was never that opportunity,” Pruitt said during a speech at the National Press Club in D.C. “Instead the DoJ acted as judge, jury and executioner in private, in secret.”
The AP reported in May the Department of Justice had secretly obtained records that listed incoming and outgoing calls in April and May of 2012 and the duration of those calls for work and personal phone numbers of AP reporters and phone lines for AP offices in New York, Hartford, Conn., and Washington. The seizure also included the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery.