News Release

Administration Spying on Journalists


Charlie Savage and Leslie Kaufman reported Monday in The New York Times: “Federal investigators secretly seized two months of phone records for reporters and editors of The Associated Press in what the news organization said Monday was a ‘serious interference with A.P.’s constitutional rights to gather and report the news. … the timing and the specific journalistic targets strongly suggested they are related to a continuing government investigation into the leaking of information a year ago about the Central Intelligence Agency’s disruption of a Yemen-based terrorist plot to bomb an airliner.”

THOMAS DRAKE, @Thomas_Drake1
Available for a limited number of interviews, Drake was a senior executive of the U.S. National Security Agency. Last year he successfully concluded a legal ordeal with the federal government, including an Espionage Act centered indictment over the past several years. He blew the whistle on vast illegal electronic surveillance and data mining inside the U.S. and other government wrongdoing. He recently received awards for his role as a whistleblower. He has warned of “a key decision made shortly after 9/11, which began to rapidly turn the United States of America into the equivalent of a foreign nation for dragnet blanket electronic surveillance. … When you open up the Pandora’s Box of just getting access to incredible amounts of data, for people that have no reason to be put under suspicion, no reason to have done anything wrong, and just collect all that for potential future use or even current use, it opens up a real danger — and to what else they could use that data for, particularly when it’s all being hidden behind the mantle of national security.”

RAY McGOVERN, rrmcgovern at
McGovern is a veteran CIA analyst. He said today: “Holder? Obama? Embarrassed by gross violation of the First Amendment? The always-held-harmless-by-gutless-politicians giant telecoms? What, we worry?

“Have you not heard? ‘After 9/11 everything changed.’ As for whistleblowers on waste, fraud, and abuse — and occasional war crimes — again, not to worry. If making public our combing through AP’s records doesn’t intimidate them, as it no doubt will for most, we’ll think of something else.

“And we are to believe that the White House didn’t know anything about it, because Jay Carney said so? Puleeze!”

McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, D.C. During his career as a CIA analyst, he prepared and gave the President’s Daily Brief and chaired National Intelligence Estimates.

MARCY WHEELER, emptywheel at, @emptywheel
A noted blogger on legal issues, Wheeler writes at She has written a series of stories on the scandal, including “‘A Full Two Month Period’ that Covers John Brennan’s Entire Drone Propaganda Campaign.”

TREVOR TIMM, trevor at, @TrevorTimm
Timm is co-founder and executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation and just wrote the piece “Justice Department Investigation of AP Part of Larger Pattern to Intimidate Sources and Reporters.”