By: Press Release | Associated Press
June 12, 2013 – Associated Press President and CEO Gary Pruitt will outline ways to protect newsgathering against government interference, in the wake of the Department of Justice’s sweeping seizure of AP phone records, in a speech on June 19 at the National Press Club in Washington.
Pruitt’s speech, set for 1 p.m., comes a month after AP revealed that the Justice Department had obtained records of the work and personal phone numbers of individual AP reporters, general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery. In all, the government gathered records for 21 phone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012.
Pruitt, a First Amendment lawyer, decried the action as a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news and later, on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” he called the Justice Department’s move “unconstitutional.” The department had informed the AP of its action on May 10.
Though the government has not specified why it sought the records. U.S. officials had previously testified that the U.S. attorney in Washington is investigating who may have leaked information contained in a May 7, 2012, AP story about a foiled terror plot. The AP reported on a CIA operation in Yemen that derailed an al-Qaeda plot in the spring of 2012 to detonate a bomb on a U.S.-bound airplane.
The luncheon begins at 12:30 with Pruitt’s remarks due to begin at 1 p.m., followed by a question and answer session. The event ends at 2 p.m.