In a strongly worded letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press requested Tuesday that the Justice Department return or destroy telephone records obtained from the Associated Press
It was revealed Monday the government secretly obtained two months worth of phone records from AP reporters and editors, a move that the company's CEO, Gary Pruitt called a "massive and unprecedented intrusion" into their newsgathering.
The Associated Press reports the records obtained by the Justice Department listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP.
"The scope of this action calls into question the very integrity of Department of Justice policies toward the press and its ability to balance, on its own, its police powers against the First Amendment rights of the news media and the public's interest in reporting on all manner of government conduct," the RCFP writes.
Allbritton Communications Company, which owns ABC7 and POLITICO, signed the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press letter.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.