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Fair Game

As I reported below, ABC News' Brian Ross was told by a federal law enforcement official that the phone records of some of the major news organizations are being monitored in an effort to seek out confidential sources in leak investigations.

Now the FBI has acknowledged that the records of journalists are "fair game". According to Ross, the FBI has been making extensive use of a new provision in the Patriot Act that allows agents to seeks information through National Security Letters. Ross describes these letters as "administrative subpoenas" which are not reviewed or signed off on by a judge.

So was this the reason that President Bush attached a signing statement to the reauthorization of the Patriot Act saying he doesn't have to inform Congress of what the FBI is using their expanded powers for? Because he knew they were trying to track down leakers? Frankly I am not surprised at all by this. We all know how desperate the Bush administration is to stop the leaking of unflattering information or possible illegal activities. And this disclosure helps to plug those leaks before they even occur. It sends a warning to would-be whistleblowers or intrepid reporters that there might me someone else besides your contact on the other end of the line.

And thus an avenue of truth is closed.

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