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Officials seize AP's phone logs: What are they looking for?

The Associated Press is now in the news as well as covering it: Justice Department officials secretly obtained two months of telephone records from AP reporters and editors.

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The screen on the phone console at the reception desk at The Associated Press Washington bureau, Monday, May 13. The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press.

Jon Elswick / AP

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The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative's top executive called a "massive and unprecedented intrusion" into how news organizations gather the news.

The records obtained by the Justice Department listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP. It was not clear if the records also included incoming calls or the duration of the calls.

In all, the government seized the records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown, but more than 100 journalists work in the offices where phone records were targeted, on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.

 
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