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Justice Department Secretly Monitored Phone Calls at Associated Press in “Unprecedented Intrusion”

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Calling it a “massive and unprecedented intrusion,” the Justice Department covertly collected two months of telephone records from reporters and editors at the Associated Press, CNN reports.

The records came from the work and person phone numbers reporters and other at the AP.

It’s uncertain what officials are looking for, but one theory is that investigators are interested in an AP story about a foiled terror plot, the AP wrote.

“There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters. These records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the newsgathering activities undertaken by the AP during a two-month period, provide a road map to AP’s newsgathering operations and disclose information about AP’s activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know,” Pruitt said.

Even members of Congress were dumbfounded.

“The First Amendment is first for a reason,” said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner. “If the Obama administration is going after reporters’ phone records, they better have a damned good explanation.”

Authorities Search for Suspect in Mother’s Day Parade Shooting

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

New Orleans police and federal authorities are on the hunt for a man they believe opened fire at a Mother’s Day parade in New Orleans that injured 19, the Associated Press reports.

The suspect was identified as Akein Scott, 19, who was seen in blurry surveillance camera images of the mass shooting.

New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said authorities have “multiple identifications of Akein Scott as the shooter.”

The AP reported that Serpas has an extensive criminal background that includes firearms and drug charges.

“We would like to remind the community and Akein Scott that the time has come for him to turn himself in,” Serpas said at a news conference outside police headquarters.

FBI: About 50 Law Enforcement Officials Killed in Line of Duty in 2012

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Nearly 50 law enforcement officials were killed in the line of duty in 2012, according to preliminary records from the FBI.

The good news: The 47 killed is 25 fewer than 2011.

“Each of these losses reminds us that our safety and freedom come at great cost,” Director Mueller said in a May 13 video message to law enforcement colleagues. “We must continue to do everything in our power to reduce the threats to our officers, deputies, and agents and to keep our colleagues safe from harm.”

Of those killed, eight died during traffic stops; another five were killed in ambushes; and the others died while investigating suspicious activity, according to the FBI.

Saudi Arabian Arrested at Detroit Airport After He’s Found with Pressure Cooker

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A Saudi Arabian man was arrested at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport on Monday after authorities say he changed his story about why he carried a pressure cooker onto a plane, Reuters reports.

Hussain al-Khawahir, 33, first said he was taking the pressure cooker to a nephew.

“The Defendant then changed his story and admitted his nephew had purchased a pressure cooker in America before but it ‘was cheap’ and broke after the first use,” the complaint said.

A pressure cooker packed with explosive powder and shrapnel was used in the Boston Marathon bombing.

Al-Khawahir also was charged with altering his passport after a page was ripped out of it.

Report: New Border Patrol Initiative Is Not Keeping Migrants from Re-Entering the U.S.

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A strategy to send migrants back to Mexico in areas far from where they entered isn’t working as initially planned, according to a new study that monitored the agency’s efforts, the Associated Press reports.

Lateral repatriations, as the strategy is called, are used to make it tough for migrants to reconnect with smugglers.

But an assessment of the plan has shown that migrants caught crossing the border often get captured again, the AP reported.

The most effective deterrents are criminal prosecutions and formal deportation procedures, the report found.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Column: The Justice Department’s Seizing of Associated Press Phone Records is Disgusting!

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Last time I checked, John Mitchell of the Nixonian era was no longer our Attorney General.

But you’d be hard pressed not to feel that the crooked Mitchell was heading up the Justice Department, which we now learn,  secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press. It’s something John Mitchell would have done.

AP calls it a “massive and unprecedented intrusion.”

I call it one of the most disgusting things to come out of Justice  in a long long time.

Eric Holder’s Justice Department has offered no public justification.

That’s because there is no justification in a nation where we have a First Amendment, in a nation where the government is not supposed to run amok and trample on the rights of press. 

(Update: Holder said Tuesday that he recused himself from the probe involving AP and that deputy Attorney General James Cole supervised the probe. He said he’s certain everything was done according to the law, and that the aggressive probe into a leak was essential.)

In all, the government seized the records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012, according to AP.

AP President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt shot off a letter to Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr.:

“There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters. These records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the newsgathering activities undertaken by the AP during a two-month period, provide a road map to AP’s newsgathering operations and disclose information about AP’s activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know.”

The Obama administration has come under constant attack by the right. With offensive antics like this,  it may not be able to count on support from the other side of the aisle in the future.

This shouldn’t happen, that is, unless it’s really the ghost of John Mitchell who’s running the Justice Department.

I’m not sure Eric Holder would like to be saddled with a legacy like that.

 

FBI: New Orleans Parade Shooting Appears to be Street Violence, Not Terrorism

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI suspects that the New Orleans Parade shooting was the result of “street violence,” not terrorism, the Huffington Post reports.

Gunmen opened fire at the Mother’s Day parade, injuring at least 19 people.

Videos from the shooting shows victims scattered on the ground, bleeding.

FBI agents said the shooting appears to be a flare up in street violence, the Huffington Post reported. “These “These kinds of incidents will not go unanswered. Somebody knows something. The way to stop this violence is for you all to help,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said.

 

 

FBI Planes That Are Flying Over Boston Appear to be Conducting Surveillance

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Residents have been reporting suspicious, loud and low-flying aircraft in the Boston area since last month.

Turns out, the small planes belong to the FBI, the Business Insider reports.

While the FBI won’t comment on the planes, which include a Cessna 208 carrying registration N1132F, Cessna 206H N309JK, and Cessna 182s N859JA and N906TM, the aircraft appears to be conducting aerial surveillance and intelligence, the Business Insider wrote.

Some of the aircraft includes eavesdropping systems, including thermal and video imagery.