It's up to a free press to make sure there's accountability in government proceedings.
The media is the only source citizens and taxpayers have to regularly make sure government leaders are doing what's in the best interest of the country. The press is able to be the watchdog of the community and make sure irregularities, misappropriations are made public and corrected.
The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative's top executive called a "massive and unprecedented intrusion" into how news organizations gather the news.
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.
The government would not say why it sought the records. Officials have previously said in public testimony that the U.S. attorney in Washington is conducting a criminal investigation into who may have provided information contained in a May 7, 2012, AP story about a foiled terror plot.
Attorney General Eric Holder says he played no direct role in the Justice Department's secret review of Associated Press phone records but called it part of an investigation into what he termed a grave national security leak.
Holder said he had removed himself from the matter because of congressional testimony he had given and his dealings with the news media.
The Justice Department was wrong to secretly review the AP's contact information. News gatherers depend on multiple background sources for accuracy. Many times those sources used for background information need to remain anonymous. When government officials feel that can review calls made by a news organization, sources will become less cooperative in providing key information.
When the government intercedes like it did in this case, the First Amendment's principles of a free press are under attack. The actions of the Justice Department need to be explained and investigated.