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Congressional Press Questions Constitutionality Of Snooping

Congressional press galleries call on the Department of Justice to explain how the "unparalleled use of your investigative power is constitutionally consistent."

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WASHINGTON — The congressional press corps Wednesday harshly criticized the Department of Justice's secret seizure of Associated Press phone records, calling the action "disconcerting" while questioning the constitutionality of the investigation.

Pointing to DOJ's subpoena of records of phone calls made by AP editors and reporters from their offices, homes and cell phones and the House Daily Press Gallery, representatives of the print, broadcast and photo galleries in the House and Senate bluntly warned Attorney General Eric Holder that "your agency has not provided adequate reason for this disconcerting action."

The press representatives also warned DOJ's activities could "jeopardize the relationship between reporters and anonymous sources, decreasing the likelihood that people will come forward with vital information of public importance. The press must be secure in its ability to conduct its business within space provided solely for that business.

"This critical work of reporters is protected by the First Amendment. Please explain how this unparalleled use of your investigative power is constitutionally consistent," they added.

John Stanton is a senior national correspondent for BuzzFeed News. In 2014, Stanton was a recipient of the National Press Foundation’s 2014 Dirksen Award for distinguished reporting of Congress.

Contact John Stanton at

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