Letter from ONA President: DOJ overstepped bounds in AP subpoena

By on May 14, 2013

Today we joined with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 50 other media organizations in issuing a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding its subpoenaing of telephone records belonging to The Associated Press.

The DOJ’s actions — gathering two months of records for more than 20 telephone lines, both from major AP bureaus and the home and cell phones of individual AP journalists — is a startling and potentially dangerous overreach of its powers, powers that are strictly limited under the DOJ’s own guidelines for issuing subpoenas to the news media for testimony and evidence.

The range of media organizations that have signed on to the letter and the speed with which we have reacted gives some sense of how strongly ONA — and the journalism community at large — feels about the DOJ’s intrusion and its potential impact on our work in the service of the public. As outlined in the letter, we have requested a swift response from the DOJ on a variety of related issues, and we’ll keep you updated.

Jim Brady, President
Josh Hatch, Chair, Legal Affairs Committee