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The U.S. government secretly seized telephone records of The Associated Press for a two-month period in 2012 in a "massive and unprecedented intrusion" into news-gathering operations, the AP says.
AP Chief Executive Gary Pruitt, in a letter addressed to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, said the Justice Department seized records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012.
"There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters," Pruitt said in the attached letter of protest.
The records obtained by the Justice Department listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP.