AP seeks answers from US gov’t on tracking of journalists

The Associated Press sought answers Monday from the Department of Homeland Security on its use of sensitive government databases for tracking international terrorists to investigate as many as 20 American journalists, including an acclaimed AP reporter. In a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, AP Executive Editor Julie Pace urged the agency to explain why the name of Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Martha Mendoza was run through the databases and identified as a potential confidential informant during the Trump administration, as detailed in a report by Homeland Security’s inspector general. The DHS investigation of U.S. journalists, as well as congressional staff and perhaps members of Congress … represents the latest apparent example of an agency created in the wake of the 9/11 attacks using its vast capabilities to target American citizens. The AP’s letter … called for “assurances that these improper practices and apparent abuse of power will not continue going forward.” That would be in line with recent order from Attorney General Merrick Garland prohibiting the seizing of records of journalists in leak investigations. That followed an outcry over revelations that the Justice Department under former President Donald Trump had obtained records belonging to journalists, as well as Democratic members of Congress. During the Obama administration, federal investigators secretly seized phone records for some reporters and editors at the AP.

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