Former AG Gonzales: AP Surveillance 'Fairly Unusual'

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Wednesday, 15 May 2013 02:00 PM

By Christiana Lilly

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Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says he would be surprised if the White House was not informed about the Justice Department acquiring phone records from The Associated Press.

"It would surprise me that the White House would not have received some sorts of heads up, 'Hey, we're going to do this. There's going to be a negative reaction,'" Gonzales said Wednesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Gonzales, who served under former President George W. Bush, described as "fairly unusual" the department's collection of over two months of phone records from Associated Press reporters and editors in an attempt to plug and information leak.

"I'm presuming they exhausted all other means to find out who this leaker is," he said. "The department would have had to have anticipated this kind of reaction . . . they took this knowing that this is something that had to be done."

While he was attorney general, Gonzales said, the administration once tried to stop The New York Times from running a story on a terrorist surveillance program for the sake of national security. In that case, both White House and Department of Justice officials sat with representatives from the newspaper to discuss the matter.

The paper delayed publication of its story.

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