U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers remarks with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt in Stockholm, Sweden on May 14, 2013.
Source: The Guardian
AP: justice department’s seizure of phone records an unprecedented intrusion
The Obama administration has opened up a new front in its battle against media freedom by seizing phone records from the offices of the Associated Press news agency in what appeared to be an effort to track down the source who disclosed an alleged Yemen terrorist plot story.
The US attorney’s office for the District of Columbia confirmed on Monday that subpoenas had been issued for phone records. It said it valued press freedom but it had to balance this against the public interest.
AP revealed on Monday that the justice department, without informing the organisation in advance, had obtained two months’ worth of phone records of calls made by reporters and editors.
Lawyers for AP said the records, which the justice department appears to have obtained from the phone companies earlier this year, listed every call made by about 100 reporters from AP’s main offices in New York, Washington and Hartford, Connecticut, and from its office in the House of Representatives press gallery between April and May last year. The justice department informed AP last Friday. AP described it as a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into newsgathering operations.
The attorney’s office refused to say why the seizure had been made but it is almost certainly in relation to an AP exclusive report on 7 May last year in which it reported the CIA had stopped a plot by an al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen to destroy a US-bound airliner.
AP at the time agreed to White House and CIA requests to hold back publication because they said an intelligence operation was still under way. After being satisfied that these concerns had been met, AP published on the Monday, ignoring a request from the Obama administration to wait until Tuesday for the official announcement.
Read the full story on The Guardian.
President Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron hold a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House.
Source: Agence France-Presse
US President Barack Obama will visit Berlin next month for wide-ranging talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel, a German government spokesman said on Friday.
Deputy spokesman Georg Streiter told a regular news briefing that Obama would stop in Berlin on June 18-19, after a G8 summit in Northern Ireland.
“The US President Barack Obama will come to Berlin for an official visit on the invitation of the chancellor. Details on this working visit will be provided as soon as they are available,”
“The chancellor is very much looking forward to this visit and the talks with the president and his delegation which will cover a broad range of bilateral and global issues including the further deepening of the transatlantic relationship.”
The European Union and the United States intend to begin talks within months on an ambitious transatlantic free trade deal that would create the world’s largest free trade area, aimed at boosting economic growth and jobs.
Meanwhile the United States and Germany, Europe’s top economy, have clashed repeatedly over fiscal strategy with Washington accusing Berlin of slowing down a global recovery with its focus on belt-tightening in Europe.
Germany responds that runaway deficit spending sparked the crisis and that budgetary discipline is the only road to sustainable economic growth.
The dispute is expected to figure prominently at the G8 meeting on June 17-18.
Obama’s Berlin visit will come one week before commemorations of US President John F. Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech pledging US solidarity during the Cold War with the embattled city on June 26, 1963.
Officials in Berlin had long complained that Obama did not visit the German capital during his first term in office.
The Democrat laid out his foreign-policy vision in a speech in Berlin’s city centre as a candidate for the White House in 2008 before 200,000 people.
He has visited Germany twice as president, the first time for a NATO summit in April 2009 in the southwestern towns of Baden-Baden and Kehl.
In June of that year, he visited the former Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald with Merkel and held talks with her in the eastern city of Dresden, where they quashed rumours of a personal rift between them at a joint press conference.
He also visited wounded soldiers at the the US military hospital in Landstuhl, western Germany.
President Obama discusses the housing market and urges Congress to confirm Mel Watt to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency and take action to give every responsible homeowner the chance to refinance and save money on their mortgage.
President Obama describes the incredible opportunities to create middle-class jobs in America by deepening our economic ties and expanding trade in Latin America and discusses a recent Senate bill that takes commonsense steps to fix our broken immigration system.
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