Bush administration attorney general Alberto Gonzales visited MSNBC’s Morning JoeÂ on Tuesday to offer insight into the Associated Press leak investigation. Gonzales said that the Obama administration likely knew about the subpoenaing of reporters’ phone records.
Our Editor-in-Chief Joe Conason asked Gonzales if he had any occasion to subpoena reporters records in a national security case while heading up the Department of Justice. The former attorney general said he considered doing so, but ultimately declined.
As Talking Points Memo‘s Brian Beutler noted:
Best thing about Gonzales crocodile tears for AP is Bush DOJ did snag reporter phone records…in breach of protocol nytimes.com/2010/01/21/us/â¦
â Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) May 15, 2013
In fact, as Charlie Savage reported in the New York Times:
TheÂ Federal Bureau of InvestigationÂ improperly obtained calling records for more than 3,500 telephone accounts from 2003 to 2006 without following any legal procedures, according to a newly disclosed report by the Justice Departmentâs inspector general.
Instead, according to the 289-page report, F.B.I. agents informally requested the records from employees of three unidentified telephone companies who were stationed inside a bureau communications office…
On four occasions, the bureau made inaccurate statements to a court that authorizes national security wiretaps about how it had obtained calling records, the report said.
And agents twice improperly gained access to reportersâ calling records as part of leak investigations.