The revelation last month that the Department of Justice seized phone records from the Associated Press turned out to be just the begining of major disclosures about government surveillance, which according to recent reports includes mass collection of phone and internet server data by the National Security Agency.

But the Department of Justice surveillance targeting news organizations carries dangerous consequences for journalists, according to the president of IRE.

“This is what police states do, not governments of the people,” IRE Board President David Cay Johnston said at the time of the Associated Press reports. “Journalists have a duty to watchdog the government and hold it accountable without surveillance or other interference.”

The scope and reasons behind the targeted surveillance remain unknown. To uncover them, IRE filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the DOJ and will be tracking its progress here on the blog. Below is the request in full: 

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IRE DOJ FOIA 1 (PDF)

IRE DOJ FOIA 1 (Text)

The Department of Justice sent an official response, but did not assign the FOIA request a reference number, as is common practice, nor has the agency assigned a FOIA officer to the request. Below is the department’s initial response in full:

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Department of Justice response (PDF)

Department of Justice response (Text)