Just to keep the record straight, the DOJ didn't wiretap anyone at AP -- it obtained phone records from more than 20 telephone lines used by the journalists who were "of interest," including office, home, and cell phones.
That said, it remains to be seen if any laws were broken; as Glenn Greenwald
notes in the Guardian
, it's impossible to evaluate this when the DOJ hasn't said what legal authority these actions were based on, nor what, if any, legal process was invoked. He goes on to say:
There are numerous instruments that have been vested in the DOJ to obtain phone records, many of which do not require court approval, including administrative subpoenas and "national security letters" (issued without judicial review); indeed, the Obama DOJ has previously claimed it has the power to obtain journalists' phone records without subpoeans using NSLs, and in its relentless pursuit to learn the identity of the source for one of New York Times' James Risen's stories, the Obama DOJ has actually claimed that journalists have no shield protections whatsoever in the national security context.
The Obama administration has shown itself willing to go to more or less any lengths to pursue, intimidate, and punish whistleblowers, and anyone who leaks classified information -- although the administration itself regularly does so when it perceives leaks to be advantageous.
It would be great if this incident produced enough outrage for Congress to act to rein in these abuses of power, but I'm not holding my breath.