A veteran reporter is warning that members of the news media aren’t the only Americans who should be concerned about the privacy of their telephone conversations.
Gregory J. Millman of the Wall Street Journal, who says his telephone records were targeted by the IRS many years ago, writes that the communications of citizens could come to the attention of the government in a number of ways, including by getting a call from someone in whom the government has interest.
The issue has arisen because of the admission by the Department of Justice that it obtained records of Associated Press telephone lines in the House Gallery at the U.S. Capitol over a period of months.
WND reported the Obama administration said it pursued AP’s records because a double agent in the war on terror was compromised by a story. However, the news wire’s reporting on the issue didn’t mention the agent.
It was CIA Director John Brennan, who then was President Obama’s terror adviser, who told members of Congress that the U.S. had “inside control” of the situation. Media then reported on the use of a double agent, according to a profile of the government’s justification for pursuing the reporters’ telephone records published in the Los Angeles Times.
Millman writes that his records were targeted in 1991 when he wrote a story citing an Internal Revenue Service memo.
However, he pointed out that when his records were taken by the IRS, he wasn’t the only one
“That’s how they happened to scoop up the phone records of a home builder, a trade association of corporate finance officers, an old friend who happened to live in Washington, D.C., and the Alicia Patterson Foundation, which supports investigative journalism and which I had called to discuss a fellowship.”
Millman says none of those people or organizations “had anything to do with the story at issue, and none learned until long afterward that IRS investigators had been secretly riffling through records of all their phone calls.”
Millman explains he learned only by accident that the records had been given to the government.
“In what may be another good example of government waste and duplication, several months after the IRS had started going through the phone records, the Department of Justice launched its own investigation,:” he writes. “In keeping with the DOJ’s policy, in mid-January of 1992 I got a notice that it wanted my records. … In the course of our fight, my attorney learned from my phone company that it had already turned the records over to the IRS months before.”
Millman reported Michael Altschul, a lawyer for the CTYIA-The Wireless Association, estimated industry-wide, companies respond to up to 2 million requests for phone records per year.
The DOJ net for records also is widening.
The Washington Post noted the latest scandal for the White House is the Justice Department’s use of security badge access records and other information to monitor three Fox News journalists.
They were identified as reporters William La Jeunesse and James Rosen and producer Mike Levine.
The report said court documents reveal how they were was monitored.
“Search warrants like these have a severe chilling effect on the free flow of important information to the public,” First Amendment lawyer Charles Tobin told the Post.
Reports say their emails showed up in an inspector’s general report regarding the Fast and Furious gun-tracing scandal.
Breitbart reported: “What we have here is a case of the Obama administration criminalizing reporting. In June of 2009, James Rosen of Fox News reported that North Korea might respond to an increase in United Nations sanctions with even more nuclear tests. Rosen added that the CIA had learned this information from their sources within North Korea. According to the Washington Post, upon hearing … of Rosen’s report, the White House launched what many believe is an unprecedented leak probe that went so far as to criminalize standard newsgathering.”
Shockingly, the report continues, “FBI agent Regineld Reyes claimed there was evidence Rosen had broken the law, ‘at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator.’”
Rosen said the Obama administration never contacted him.
“It is called everyday journalism; and the Obama administration is attempting to criminalize everyday journalism,” the report said.