On this weekend’s broadcast of CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Associated Press President and CEO Gary Pruitt ripped the Obama’s administration’s Justice Department for the tactics it used in its investigation into leaks about a foiled terror plot in Yemen and the use of the Stuxnet virus against Iran’s nuclear program.
According to Pruitt, the government investigation overstepped by casting such a broad net under a veil of secrecy.
“Under their own rules, they are required to narrow this request as narrowly as possible so as to not tread upon the First Amendment,” Pruitt said. “And yet they had a broad, sweeping collection, and they did it secretly. Their rules require them to come to us first, but in this case they didn’t, claiming an exception, saying that if they had it would have posed a substantial threat to their investigation. But they have not explained why it would and we can’t understand why it would.”
That was enough for Pruitt to call the government’s actions “unconstitutional.”
“We don’t question their right to conduct these sorts of investigations,” Pruitt said. “We just think they went about it the wrong way — so sweeping, so secretively, so abusively and harassingly and overbroad that it is an unconstitutional act.”
Pruitt added that this level of government interference was not what the framers had in mind when the First Amendment was drafted.
“The government has no business having control over all, monitoring all of this newsgathering information from the Associated Press,” he added. “And if they restrict that apparatus, you’re right — the people of the United States will only know what the government wants them to know and that’s not what the framers of the Constitution had in mind when they wrote the First Amendment.”