The US government secretly seized months of telephone records of Associated Press reporters and editors in what the news organization President Gary Pruitt calls a serious interference with AP's constitutional rights to gather and report the news.
The AP was reportedly informed by US Justice Department officials last week that it had obtained the telephone records for more than 20 phone office lines, including journalist's home phones and cellphones. It also added that these records were seized without notice sometime this year.
As a former AP Bureau Chief, I reached out to Lou Boccardi, the man who was president when I was hired and whom I served under for several years. Former AP President Boccardi led AP worldwide operations for 18 years, half of his entire AP career. He tells City Island Images- "without any inside information, I think Gary Pruitt's statement has it about right. AP seems to have behaved responsibly, delaying publication until the administration said that going ahead would not damage national security".
During his tenure at The AP, Boccardi tells City Island Images that he recalls this type of US government interference happening, " but never on this scale."
Louis D. Boccardi was CEO of The Associated Press from 1985 until his retirement in 2003. Prior to assuming the presidency, he served one year as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer and 10 years as executive editor in charge of AP's news operations.