WASHINGTON — The Associated Press (AP) is now hampered by the recently-discovered seizure of their phone records, said the organization’s CEO and President Gary Pruitt. Reuters reported that Pruitt spoke for the first time on public television to address the scandal.
On Sunday’s “Face the Nation” program, Pruitt said, “Officials that would normally talk to us and people we talk to in the normal course of news gathering are already saying to us that they’re a little reluctant to talk to us…they fear that they will be monitored by the government.”
The AP was informed by the Department of Justice, led by Eric Holder, on May 10th that records for about 20 of their phone lines were taken by the department for the months of April and May 2012. The DOJ said that it was to investigate details of a Yemeni terrorist plot that was foiled, but reported by the AP.
Media Matters, the mouthpiece for liberal billionaire George Soros, has denied that it participated in the talking points about the scandal on behalf of the Department of Justice, even though the talking points came from its lobbying arm. NBC’s Lisa Myers tried to explain away the scandal away and said Obama could not have known about the AP probe.
Pruitt lamented that the AP’s staff is having a harder time of doing their job: gathering and reporting the news. President Barack Obama said that he did not know of these actions beforehand until it was made public by the press, and Holder has stood by similar statements.
Pruitt went on to say that the DOJ claimed exemption from its own monitoring rules and still has not come clean about their intentions.
“But they have not explained why it would and we can’t understand why it would,” he said. “We never even had possession of these records, they were in the possession of our telephone service company and they couldn’t be tampered with.”
Pruitt said that the AP “think(s) they went about it the wrong way, so sweeping, so secretively, so abusively and harassingly.” One of the most damning things Pruitt pointed out was how “the Justice Department acting on its own, being the judge, jury and executioner, in secret.”