The White House did not know about the Justice Department’s efforts to secretly obtain the phone records from that reporters and editors at the Associated Press, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday evening.
Earlier Monday, the AP reported that Justice Department officials had obtained two months worth of phone records from the publication for the period of April and May 2012. Though the DOJ remained vague about its motives for seeking out the records, the timing appears to correspond with an AP story about a CIA operation in Yemen to prevent an airline bomb plot on the one-year anniversary of the death of operation that killed Osama bin Laden.
Carney, in a statement sent through the pool reporter, said the White House was unaware of the DOJ’s actions.
“Other than press reports, we have no knowledge of any attempt by the Justice Department to seek phone records of the AP,” he said. “We are not involved in decisions made in connection with criminal investigations, as those matters are handled independently by the Justice Department. Any questions about an ongoing criminal investigation should be directed to the Department of Justice.”
A previous pool report had Carney simply directing all questions to the Department of Justice.