Eric Holder says the AP reporting of the foiled Yemen airline terrorist bombing plot was perhaps "the most serious" security leak he had ever seen. "It put American people at risk," he claimed defending the covert targeting of AP reporters and editors phone records over a period of two months.
But, the Washington Post tells a very different story. By the time the AP published their report, the CIA had lifted national security concerns. Nonetheless, the CIA continued to lobby the AP to hold the story until the President got to thump his chest first.
The AP actually sat on the story for five days at the request of the CIA. By then, officials no longer had "national security" concerns, but wanted the AP to hold off breaking the story because…..wait for it….."the Obama administration was planning to announce the successful counterterrorism operation that Tuesday."
So, after security concerns evaporated, our CIA for purely political reasons was pleading with the press to hold a major story in deference to the White House's political objectives.
Contrary to Holder's claim, what has now erupted into the full blown AP phone records scandal was payback for spoiling Obama's political objectives – not some breach of national security.
Obama wanted to toot his own horn in the midst of the Presidential campaign and was p***ed that the press didn't let him.
From the Washington Post:
For five days, reporters at the Associated Press had been sitting on a big scoop about a foiled al-Qaeda plot at the request of CIA officials. Then, in a hastily scheduled Monday morning meeting, the journalists were asked by agency officials to hold off on publishing the story for just one more day.
The CIA officials, who had initially cited national security concerns in an attempt to delay publication, no longer had those worries, according to individuals familiar with the exchange. Instead, the Obama administration was planning to announce the successful counterterrorism operation that Tuesday.
AP balked and proceeded to publish that Monday afternoon. Its May 2012 report is now at the center of a controversial and broad seizure of phone records of AP reporters’ home, office and cellphone lines. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said the unauthorized disclosure about an intelligence operation to stop al-Qaeda from detonating explosives aboard a U.S. airliner was among the most serious leaks he could remember, and justified secretly obtaining records from a handful of reporters and editors over a span of two months.
Now, some members of Congress and media advocates are questioning why the administration viewed the leak that led to the May 7 AP story as so grave.
It gets ever more bizarre. The national security concerns lifted in a meeting on Monday, May 7, but the CIA intervened again, making a purely political plea for the AP to hold off so the White House could break the story. As the WaPo reports, the AP balked:
Then, in a meeting on Monday, May 7, CIA officials reported that the national security concerns were “no longer an issue,” according to the individuals familiar with the discussion.
When the journalists rejected a plea to hold off longer, the CIA then offered a compromise. Would they wait a day if AP could have the story exclusively for an hour, with no government officials confirming it for that time?
The reporters left the meeting to discuss the idea with their editors. Within an hour, an administration official was on the line to AP’s offices.
The White House had quashed the one-hour offer as impossible. AP could have the story exclusively for five minutes before the White House made its own announcement. AP then rejected the request to postpone publication any longer.
The AP published the story and we now know what the Obama Administration's retaliation was for disobeying. As the Right Sphere puts it, “Stealing the Obama administration’s thunder is now grounds for secret subpoenas on the press. Is this America?”