Associated Press president Gary Pruitt on Wednesday slammed the Department of Justice for acting as “judge, jury and executioner” in the seizure of the news organization’s phone records and he said some of the wire service’s longtime sources have clammed up in fear.
Pruitt said the department broke its own rules with the seizure, which he said was too broad, and by failing to give the AP notice of the subpoena. Pruitt questioned the DoJ’s actions concerning the subpoena — had the DoJ come to the news organization in advance, “we could have helped them narrow the scope of the subpoena” or a court could have decided, he said.
“There was never that opportunity,” Pruitt said during a speech at the National Press Club in D.C. “Instead the DoJ acted as judge, jury and executioner in private, in secret.”
Since the disclosure of the DoJ’s subpoena, Pruitt on Wednesday said AP reporters have experienced a chilling effect on newsgathering. Sources are “nervous and anxious” about talking with reporters, he said, and it goes beyond just the AP. “What I learned from our journalists should alarm everyone in this room and should alarm everyone in this country,” he said. (Continues)