Seizing journalist phone records through a secret subpoena is “nefarious” and designed to intimidate reporters, legendary investigative journalist Carl Bernstein said.
“This is intimidation, this is wrong; the president of the United States should have long ago put a stop to this in his presidency,” Bernstein said. His reporting on the Watergate scandal lead, in part, to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
The Justice Department used a secret subpoena to obtain two months of records on 20 separate Associated Press phone lines, the AP said Monday. It’s the latest free speech clash in the Obama administration’s aggressive war on leaks—they’ve prosecuted leak cases twice as much as previous administrations combined.
“The object of it is to intimidate people from talking to reporters,” Bernstein said.
“Every day, people at high levels of every administration, people at high levels are talking to reporters and disclosing national security information,” the journalist said. “Very high officials, every day, are doing this for their own reasons. This is selective. There’s no reason for it, beyond that which is nefarious. It’s simple as that and it’s dangerous and it shouldn’t be excused.”