BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE
IN AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW -- MUST CREDIT BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O REVEALED TO THESE REPORTERS THIS MORNING THE REASON BEHIND HIS WAR ON WHISTLE BLOWERS AND THE PRESS.
"I'M ALWAYS THE LAST TO KNOW," BARRY O WHINED ASKING THAT SOMEONE CUT HIS GRAPEFRUIT FOR HIM.
"AND," HE CONTINUED AS VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN CUT THE GRAPEFRUIT, "WHISTLE BLOWERS AND THE PRESS MAKE ME LOOK STUPID AND UNINFORMED. SO IF I CAN JUST PUT AN END TO BOTH OF THEM, I'LL LOOK SO MUCH SMARTER."
BARRY O SMILED, TOOK HALF A GRAPEFRUIT, STUCK A FORK IN AND BEGAN SCREAMING.
"OH, MY EYE! MY EYE! THE JUICE SHOT IN MY EYE!" BARRY O EXCLAIMED.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Starting with the latest US government assault on the First Amendment in the name of the so-called 'war on terror,' Dylan Byers and Katie Glueck (POLITICO) speak with AP staffers about their reaction to the news that the US Justice Dept had secretly grabbed the news organizations' phone records for April and May 2012. One person states, "People were outraged and disgusted. No one was yelling and screaming, but it was like, 'Are you kidding me?'"
The Port Huron Times-Herald editorial board observes, "The seizure of journalists' phone records is an attack on press freedom and the constitutional protection of the public's right to know. The American people must see Obama account for this deplorable action." Today, AP executive editor Kathleen Carroll appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe (link is video) and spoke about this assault on the First Amendment with hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski and guests journalists Carl Bernstein (of Watergate fame) Mike Barnicle. Excerpt.
Kathleen Carroll: Well obviously, we're distressed that the Justice Dept felt the need to seize our records and not tell us about it and certainly distressed as our CEO said in his protest to the Justice Dept that the scope of the inquiry's so huge. More than 100 journalists for the AP work at the places whose phone numbers and phone records were seized by the Justice Dept.
Mike Barnicle: Kathleen, the origins of the story have to do with a story that the AP broke on a plot in Yemen that originated in Yemen, correct?
Kathleen Carroll: Well, we're not entirely sure about that but that's our best guess, Mike.
Mike Barnicle: But at the time that that story ran, it ran after the Associated Press cooperated with the government's request to delay the story, is that correct?
Kathleen Carroll: That is correct.
Mike Barnicle: When did you find out from the Dept of Justice, from the government, that these records were subpoenaed, that the Justice Dept was eavesdropping on reporters?
Kathleen Carroll: We got a very brief e-mail Friday afternoon from the US Attorney of the District of Columbia saying that they had these records of these 20 phone lines.
Mike Barnicle: And did it outline in that notification to you, did it outline the time frame in which they were eavesdropping on reporters?
Kathleen Carroll: April and May of 2012.
Mike Barnicle: That vague?
Kathleen Carroll: Yep.
Joe Scarborough: So Kathleen, you say over 100 reporters' phones were -- phone records -- were seized by the government?
Kathleen Carroll: It's 20 different phone lines, Joe, and they -- the phone lines -- include main numbers. If you count all the journalists who would be making calls in and out of those phone numbers, it would be more than 100.
Joe Scarborough: And what's so surprising here, Mike, is, of course, other administrations have done this, have made mistakes. In 2004, the FBI mistakenly did this and apologized for an Indonesian office. Kathleen, this goes right to the core of the Associated Press mission. What is the impact of having the phone records of 100 reporters of the Associated Press seized by the government?
Kathleen Carroll: Well it's clearly distressing to think that -- without our knowledge -- someone is looking at phone calls that we make in the course of daily business and obviously not all of them would be involving this kind of reporting on the story that Mike mentioned, the national security story. It would be calling police officers to see what's going on on a burning house, it would be calling hospitals, it would be talking with government officials of every level -- city, state, federal, in the normal course of business.
Joe Scarborough: Well, Kathleen, it would also be talking to whistle blowers, members of the federal government, people and agencies -- sources saying things not only about the administration that the administration wouldn't want, but other government officials. Do you find this to be a chilling intimidating breach of the Associated Press' constitutional -- You're, you're smiling. I see Carl smiling here. If I'm a reporter and I just found out I was chasing a story with sources that were scared to talk to me and now the federal government, the Justice Dept has their phone numbers inside their agencies, that's chilling not only to the Associated Press but to your sources.
Kathleen Carroll: Well obviously we find this very distressing and I think the CEO put it best in the very strongly worded letter that he sent yesterday to Eric Holder, the Attorney General. I mean, I've been in this business more than 30 years and our First Amendment lawyers and our lawyers inside the AP, and our CEO, also well known First Amendment Lawyer, none of us have seen anything like this.
Carl Bernstein noted, "This administration has been terrible on this subject from the beginning. The object of it is to intimidate people who talk to reporters. This was an accident waiting to become a nuclear event and now it's happened. There's no excuse for it whatsoever. There's no reason for this investigation especially on this scale." I know Carl and I want to be clear that he's an investigative journalist. I've shared the tale before of two would-be screenwriters (news reporters) who wrote a (bad) script and wanted input on it. I said, "Your main character's an investigative reporter and we never see any drive or passion for that. There's not even a token reference to Woodward and Bernstein." To which one of the two (the one who reported for the news section of the New York Times) asked, "Who are Woodard and Bernstein?" So to be clear, Watergate was the scandal that buried the administration of Richard Nixon (Tricky Dick). It came to light because of the dogged pursuit of reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. So just to be clear on who Carl is. Reporters Without Borders issued a statement calling out the action and they quoted RWB's secretary-general Christophe Deloire stating:
We share the view of AP president and CEO Gary Pruitt, who called it a 'massive and unprecedented intrusion' in a letter yesterday to US attorney general Eric Holder. We urge the DOJ to comply immediately with the AP's request for the return or destruction of the seized phone records.
We also think that such a flagrant violation of constitutional guarantees needs to be the subject of a congressional commission of enquiry. We regret to see that the federal government has not ended the practices that prevailed during President George W. Bush’s two terms, when officials sacrificed the protection of private data and, above all, the First Amendment right to be informed. This case has demonstrated the need for a federal shield law that guarantees the protection of journalists’ sources, a principle that 34 of the Union’s states already recognize to varying degrees in their legislation.
WBAP's Ben Ferguson discussed the attack on press freedom with the AP's Interim General Counsel Laura Malone. The interview will be broadcast tomorrow morning but WBAP has put on some of it on the web late today.
Laura Malone: They didn't give us any reasoning. The time frame is April and May 2012. They gave us a list of the telephone numbers. We internally matched the telephone numbers to our journalists and that's how we found out what the telephone numbers pertained to. There were some specific journalists who were named in the notification and they gave us the phone numbers but the rest of it was just a string of numbers that we had to go through. That's when we discovered that they had the general telephone numbers and the fax numbers of some of our bureaus. And, again, as I say, the time frame, it simply says from April and May 2012, not limited in any fashion and they don't give a reason why.
Ben Ferguson: For all you know, and I want to clarify this -- my guest Laura Malone, AP Interim General Counsel -- they could have been for months on end or even currently now is there a possibility that the Justice Dept is continuing to do what they told you they were doing in the past?
Laura Malone: Of course they could be doing this now. We would have no idea, no way of knowing if they were really on this general exception. There is a requirement under this set of guidelines that once they do it they have a time under which they have to notify you after the fact. And it's a 45-day notice period but it also can be extended by another 45 days. So the potential is that they subpeonead these records and as a little as a day or two [later] we got the notice or as much as 90 days before we got the notice. So could they be doing this currently? There's no reason to think that they couldn't.
Ben Ferguson: What do you -- my guest Laura Malone AP Interim General Counsel -- from the Associated Press, Atorney General Eric Holder has just said that his deputy ultimately authorized the subpeona to secretly obtain phone records from the Associated Press and he said that he had recused himself early on in the related investigation into leaks of sensitive information that they claim put the American people at risk.
Laura Malone: Mmm-hmm. Well there are a couple of different parts of your question. First of all, under the rules, the Attorney General is supposed to sign off on any kind of subpeona like this. He is now saying -- and we're hearing the same thing that you're hearing -- that he recused himself and assigned this to his Deputy AG and his name is Jim Cole. We just, in the last several minutes, got a letter from Mr. Cole in response to our letter and I have to tell you that I have not reviewed it yet. But we did -- we did just get it and we're reviewing it internally.
As David Jackson (USA Today) observes, "Already facing criticism over the Benghazi attack and Internal Revenue Service problems, President Obama and aides must now deal with news that the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of journalists who work for the Associated Press." As Mike observed last night, "Barack Is A Many Scandaled Thing." Let's move to the IRS since targeting critics of the government is targeting free speech -- Trina covered this in "The IRS as an instrument of intimidation." Lucy Madison (CBS News -- link is text but includes video of Charlie Rose addressing the topic on CBS This Morning) reports on a USA Today column today by IRS' Acting Commissioner Steven Miller . Madison notes, "CBS News has confirmed that Miller, who replaced former IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman who resigned last year, was informed of the IRS's targeting policy in May 2012. On July 25, 2012, Miller testified before a House Ways and Means Oversight subcommittee, but did not mention the agency's heightened scrutiny for the applications of conservative groups. After learning of the controversial IRS practice, he also wrote at least two letters to Congress explaining the process for reviewing tax-exempt status applications; in neither of those letters did he mention the targeting."
The Inspector General of the Treasury has a report due out on the IRS' targeting. Several news outlets have advanced copies. Joseph Tanfani and Richard Simon (Los Angeles Times) explain, "The report looked at records for 298 organizations that the IRS specialists scrutinized for their level of political activity, determining that 96 were pulled out because they had the words “tea party,” 'patriots,' or '9-12' in their names, while 202 did not. ('9-12' refers to a conservative movement to restore the national unity felt on the day after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.)" Lindsey Boerma and Steve Chaggaris (CBS News -- link is text and video) state the report pins the blame on "ineffective management."
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