One day after U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal expressed outrage at the Internal Revenue Service’s apparent targeting of conservative groups for federal tax scrutiny, the Democrat from Connecticut said he was “deeply troubled” about reports that the U.S. Department of Justice was collecting phone records from the Associated Press.
“I am deeply troubled by reports of the federal government’s apparently sweeping information collection from Associated Press bureaus, including Hartford. I am concerned that this investigative action may fail to meet the government’s high burden when invasion of privacy and chilling effects on First Amendment rights are at risk. Long accepted and strongly established constitutional principles of free expression and profoundly important public interests protect the press from government interference and intrusion. The Department of Justice must be forthcoming with the facts as soon as possible.”
UPDATE: U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy also released a statement on the matter:
“We rely on the Department of Justice to enforce federal laws in our country and help keep Americans safe, and we trust that the leadership there is working steadfastly to accomplish that mission. It’s incumbent on the Justice Department to explain why they’ve seized telephone records from reporters and editors at The Associated Press so that their actions don’t have a chilling effect on the freedom of the press.”