Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

What does the collective think about the wire taps on the AP in America?

Asked by JLeslie (65474points) May 14th, 2013

Did Obama order this? Or, was he continuing it from a previous administration? Not that it would make it any more right. Or, is it justified because there were too many leaks? Do you think it is ok? Are you appalled? What details do you know and what do you think about it?

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43 Answers

KNOWITALL's avatar

Anything goes in the interests of National Security. I’m not appalled at anything other than the AP putting our country and our people and our interests as risk. I’m not a big government type person in the least, but I’m even less of a traitor to my country kind of person.

bookish1's avatar

@KNOWITALL, how did the AP put “National Security” at risk?

Not knowing more about this story than the brief clip I heard on the radio last night, I am inclined to suspect this is yet another instance of the Obama administration enthusiastically continuing and amplifying policies begun under Bush & Co.

zenvelo's avatar

I agree with @KNOWITALL. There is no special dispensation for the AP that is different for the average citizen. My outrage is more over the Patriot Act and Joe Lieberman than over taps at the AP.

janbb's avatar

I am increasingly disenchanted with the Obama administration. “Tranparency” indeed!

ragingloli's avatar

Freedom of the Press. 21st Century Myth.

Jaxk's avatar

This has the potential to do more damage to this administration than anything he’s done previously. The press has been his biggest cheerleader but this could dampen thier enthusiasm. I’m not sure it will but the potential is there.

Whether this was merely collecting records or wiretapping it was very broad with a hundred different phones involved. The press is our view into what the government is doing. Without it we have no way to monitor thier actions. I see this as especially egregious. Only time will tell if they are held accountable for this. I doubt it would happen without the approval of Eric Holder nor without the knowledge of Obama. It is a big deal.

ragingloli's avatar

@Jaxk. I doubt it would happen without the approval of Eric Holder nor without the knowledge of Obama.

Why would you think that? Remember Project Northwoods? That secret project that involved false flag attacks on american targets to justify an invasion of Cuba? The reason it was not put into action is that Kennedy said No to it.
If I was a spy org. I would not let a president spit into my soup again and just do it in secret.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I don’t get why people are so surprised. Stuff like this goes on, has gone on for decades. It got steadily worse after 9/11.
We do not live in a free country any more – we have not for a dozen years. The US has gone the way of Great Britain, in the sense that everything and anything you do or say is in some way captured and stored to be used against you.

This is not news. The only possible thing that makes this different is that it actually came to light.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@bookish1 The whole thing is about National Security risks versus Freedom of the press and the Constitutional rights of the people.

Federal prosecutors secretly obtained records of telephone calls from more than 20 telephone lines belonging to The Associated Press and its journalists over a two-month period, in an apparent investigation of a leak of sensitive information about a terrorist plot in Yemen.

And yes, Obama authorized the wiretaps.

Federal detectives won’t need a warrant to eavesdrop on the emails and phone calls of Americans for another five years. President Obama reauthorized an intelligence gathering bill on Sunday that puts national security over constitutional rights.

President Barack Obama inked his name over the weekend to an extension of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, a George W. Bush-era legislation that has allowed the government expansive spy powers that has been considered by some to be dragnet surveillance.

Jaxk's avatar

It’s almost funny to hear Eric Holder say he recused himself so he knows NOTHING about this. Yet another story that no one knows anything about. This must be the most uninformed administration in history. No one knows anything.

jaytkay's avatar

There was no wiretap.

Telephone company records were subpoenaed in a criminal investigation.

The records show the phone numbers of ingoing and outgoing calls.

JLeslie's avatar

@jaytkay Now that would be a very important distinction. Are they calls to and from the whitehouse? Is it just white house press? Where did you hear this?

What I also wondered is if the administration did anything with the information, whatever the information actually is, to sifle reporters.

Plucky's avatar

What is AP?

jaytkay's avatar

My source is the AP (Associated Press).

The US Attorney (federal prosecutor) in Washington informed the AP that his office obtained the “telephone toll records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to the AP and its journalists.”

The AP sent a letter of protest to Attorney General Holder.

Here is the letter.

JLeslie's avatar

Holy crap. Thank you.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Plucky Associated Press.

rojo's avatar

You can blame this admin, or the last, but the 800 lb gorilla in the room is the DHS. It was a mistake to have ever formed this agency and when historians look back on us they will note with disbelief that we allowed such an autonomous, draconian power structure into our midst. Unless they win, then they get to write the history books.
From here on out, it does not matter which party is in office. Whomever is in office will use the DHS to suppress individual freedoms and control the populace in the name of keeping “us” safe and maintaining the American Way of Life.
It is already larger than the NSA and will eventually incorporate them into the DHS along with the Border Patrol, the FBI, the CIA, the National Guard, the Coast Guard and ultimately all branches of the military under one huge umbrella organization.
All because we have allowed ourselves to be deluded that total security can be achieved if we just give up a “little” freedom. There is already talk that some civil liberties may have to be violated, modified or eliminated to fight the war on terror. Here Link is a poll where a full 33% feel it is justifiable to do just that. Not sure when this one dates from but the latest stuff from Time/CNN indicates about a 40% willingness.
Here is an article about the huge spy center being built in Utah. @JLeslie if this article is to be believed, we may not need to worry about them ASKING for the information shortly, they will just have it without asking.

JLeslie's avatar

@rojo I am very conflicted about giving up freedom, the idea of big brother, and trying to have better security. Look at the Boston bombing. Are you glad the men were seen on camera with backpacks and leaving the bags on the ground? Do you wish their phones had been tapped? The older one was already suspected to be a terrorist before the fact.

I always felt like the Patriot Act was over the top. It was always legal to wire tap with probable cause as far as I know. I realize the Patriot Act covers more than just wire tapping.

I’m curious to tune into the news to hear more about whether it was tappingnor just looking at phone records.

rojo's avatar

I too am conflicted but I would prefer to err on the side of individual liberty and live with the prospect of being a little less secure. Perhaps I have a more fatalistic outlook but I do not think that we can ever truly stop acts of terror (or terrorist acts). I am in favor of doing what we can within the parameters that were set pre-9/11 and not see our civil rights suffer further erosion.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

DHS and the the Patriot Act marked the beginning of the end of individual rights, privacy and the constitutional rights on which the USA was founded. The USA is a ghost of what it set out to be. It is becoming a Capitalist oligarchy run by the 1% who are rich. The middle class has become just the upper end of the 99% who are poor and disenfranchised. It must be hard to still be a patriot when the country you grew up to love is pretty much already gone. Congratulations Disk Cheney whose puppet George W. Bush helped you remake America.

filmfann's avatar

I believe Obama had nothing to do with this, but he needs to reign in his team and make them understand that this was unAmerican.

woodcutter's avatar

Seems funny as hell in a way to me at least. The press was pretty much carrying water for the Obama administration overlooking stories that should have been more looked into. Now that the press feels their cheerios have been pissed in, they are crying because it’s about them. The media never says anything until it gores their ox. This administration can trample on second amendment rights and that’s alright. They can drop ship weapons to a neighboring country and nope-nothing to see here. It’s looking like the AP has finally been bitten by their pet…funny

BhacSsylan's avatar

Yeah, as was mentioned, this was not wiretapping, this was seizure of phone company records listing incoming and outgoing calls. It does give a ton of information with regards to sources, but it is not a wiretap.

Secondly, ‘recuse’ does not mean he doesn’t know anything. It’s almost the opposite: it means he has a conflict of interest and thus should not be persuing the case as a disinterested party.

Thirdly, this was not random. It was part of an ongoing investigation into very seriously damaging leaks re: a terrorist plot in Yemen. Also, this is partially the result of congress calling for in depth investigations into a series of high-profile leaks, with the incrimination that they were simply a political ploy:
“Republicans accused the administration of deliberately leaking classified information, jeopardizing national security in an effort to make Mr. Obama look tough in an election year — a charge the White House rejected. But some Democrats, too, said the leaking of sensitive information had gotten out of control.
Mr. Holder’s move at the time was sharply criticized by Republicans as not going far enough. They wanted him to appoint an outside special counsel, and a Senate resolution calling for a special counsel was co-sponsored by 29 Republican senators. ”

Also of note, Obama co-sponsored a bill that would have blocked this action, or at least have made it more difficult, but it was killed by a republican fillibuster

In the end, it was a terrible action and Holder should be held accountable (and frankly I think he should be replaced anyway, this is just more reason). But this does not make Obama evil any more then the previous ‘scandals’.

Jaxk's avatar


In 2009 it was the Democrats that shot down blocking this kind of action.

bolwerk's avatar

American politics are a cruel joke. One one side you have a petty, selfish, corrupt group of right-wingers who are rather indifferent to the concept of rule of law. And on the other side, you have the Republikans, who are all those things and more, and then absolutely hostile to the rule of law.

And it remains to be seen which side Obama is on!

woodcutter's avatar

Aren’t right wingers mostly associated with republicans?

bolwerk's avatar

Both U.S. parties are right-wing, as in authoritarian. The Republikans are just more dictatorial and vicious – so, yeah, sure, they’re more right-wing.

Hell, with their sense of noblesse oblige, I’d go so far as to say the Democrats are the more conservative of the two parties.

woodcutter's avatar

Both parties will do anything even if it breaks the law to stay in power. There’s a reason the fear is real should either side have too much sway. It’s an old fear.

bolwerk's avatar

The difference is the Democrats basically just want to be in power, and leave it at that. They are much less concerned about exercising power, and more concerned with influence peddling and preserving the privileges of their financiers, throwing a bone to the plebes to keep them from getting rowdy.

The Republikans actually take active pleasure in hurting anyone they regard as part of the out-group.

woodcutter's avatar

I just don’t see the practical working dynamic of “just wanting power” and leaving it at that. What would be the point? To keep power you are forced to exercise it or you loose it. Being party to taking rights away is a form of exercising power even if it is done quietly in a back room deal. Both sides are masters at the mind fuck and will make you feel happy to give them what they want. It is the nature of people in power using the illusion of choice to stay in power.

bolwerk's avatar

@woodcutter: did you miss the “less concerned” part? Democrats merely pander to maintain power, and peddle it out when they have it. They don’t want to stick a boot up your ass. The major problem with them is they’ll tolerate the boot going up your ass in their bargaining with Republikans.

Anyway, I don’t like false equivalencies. Yes, Democrats are bad, but they aren’t in the same league as Republikans in terms of sheer evil. At least they’ll occasionally expand rights. Of the eight or so states that actually passed legislation extending marital rights to gays, maybe two were partly Republikan ruled, and I think only in one did the Republikans take a deliberate initiative.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@bolwerk I actually see Demorats as more hopeful Idealists trying to change the world for the better overzealously than just wanting to maintain power.

As far as Republicans, I feel like our emphasis on God, country and family tends to confuse people because so many well-known Reps are greedy and sell-out to special interests. Most of us just want to be left alone to work and raise families and worship God.

I hope you really think about how general assumptions can be very misleading, especially to people not familier with our political schematics.

woodcutter's avatar

the lesser of two evils, is still


rojo's avatar

@woodcutter This has some reaching the same conclusion.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@woodcutter I agree, but being completely honest and impartial, is the only way to solve problems, which is what our forefathers wanted. At some point, the American people will get tired of everyone in DC living like Kings while the rest of us work out butts off for peanuts.

woodcutter's avatar

@KNOWITALL Hey, I’m with you all the way but i think this wealth disparity will correct itself one way, or another. There will be a tipping point that even most conservatives will have to agree that their projected customers don’t have enough money. Right now there are still enough paying customers to keep them in business so they don’t need to care about the 47%. They can just not hire and expand and live off what they have because they feel they have time on their side. But how much further will that number have to creep before it starts cutting into their prosperity? Some think we may be heading for another meltdown similar to that one in 2007 but they are worried it will be really bad this time. This will be when something happens and if the right keeps squeezing the middle class down into the lower class, their worst nightmare will come to life. That nightmare will be the govt takeover of most things. Talk about shooting themselves in the foot. Every generation has their own disaster scenario fears. For some reason the govt is accelerating preparedness for massive civil unrest. I mean that skill set is good to know but why now? What do they know or expect could make them need to be ready in the near future? Somebody has been reading the tea leaves. Both political parties are doing the same thing. From where one views it will determine for them who is doing it worse than the other. I’m a Indy. I can’t in clear conscience be a dem or repub. I see it from both sides because I believe we all should be doing that but what do I know?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@woodcutter The only thing that will change is that the lower-middle class will stop accepting what employers are doling out, which is low wages & increased job requirements.

People like me still have to pay a mortgage, what are we supposed to do? If you go somewhere else, you lose any financial ground you’ve attained because there’s fifty people waiting in line for that job.

I am with you that both parties are greedy and not helping Americans as they should. What is the solution? What can the American people do besides vote out both these parties at the next election?

woodcutter's avatar

@KNOWITALL How do people stop accepting what the going rate of pay and bennies are? Just up and quit working? Maybe a national strike but I don’t see that happening.

Ahh, the ol voting out the rascals and starting over:D Problem here is, there are too many ideologues who would take a bullet for their favorite politician. They will never abandon them. Thats how Boxer and Feinstein have been there since, forever as well as many other repubs. The voting districts lines make it hard to get rid of them. But that would sure put the fear into them if after an election every single one of them was shown the door. Never going to happen. We all know they aren’t worth the pay they get. I get better service from some unmotivated worker at MacDonalds and thats not saying much.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@woodcutter But it’s really true. Maybe we can all vote libertarian, like my brother said he and his friends are doing.

rojo's avatar

@KNOWITALL won’t help. There are too many people who just vote straight party ticket regardless of the candidates or their positions. Like they say, it’s easier than thinking.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@rojo Sometimes, I do that, but trust me, a lot of us are over them both at this point. Libs and Cons.

woodcutter's avatar

I don’t think we will see any serious candidates other than D or R in my state. And forget about legal weed. Never going to happen.

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