« The Bader Blog

Is the AP Story Even Bigger than it First Appeared?

by Jerry Bader

If the WaPo is right about this, the answer is a resounding yes.  The crux of this story is that security concerns about breaking this story had passed and the White House was concerned only with AP not scooping them on their big "terror plot foiled news conference." That would mean Justice snooped into the AP's phone records(and records of their reporters) out of pure vindictiveness. From WaPo:

Michael J. Morell, the CIA’s deputy director, gave AP reporters some additional background information to persuade them to hold off, Vietor said. The agency needed several days more to protect what it had in the works.

Then, in a meeting on Monday, May 7, CIA officials reported that the national security concerns were “no longer an issue,” according to the individuals familiar with the discussion.

When the journalists rejected a plea to hold off longer, the CIA then offered a compromise. Would they wait a day if AP could have the story exclusively for an hour, with no government officials confirming it for that time?

The reporters left the meeting to discuss the idea with their editors. Within an hour, an administration official was on the line to AP’s offices.

The White House had quashed the one-hour offer as impossible. AP could have the story exclusively for five minutes before the White House made its own announcement. AP then rejected the request to postpone publication any longer.

An AP spokeswoman declined to discuss details of the meeting, AP discussions with government sources or the agencies to which the reporters spoke. 

If it happened this way, this story has become a whole lot bigger, and a whole lot more Nixonian. And the Post doesn't really address this point; if this did start as a perceived snubbing by the White House, there is no way the White House wasn't aware of what Justice was doing. If the media won't dig on this and the IRS story, Congress should keep it in the news. With every day that passes the IRS and AP scandals sound very  much like "punish our enemies" scandals.