A government official leaked to ABC News that federal investigators are tracking its reporters’ phone calls in an effort to identify governmental leaks, according to the news org’s Web site.
“World News Tonight” reporters Brian Ross and Richard Esposito wrote that “a senior federal law enforcement official” told them in person, “It’s time for you to get some new cell phones, quick,” even though the source also assured them that their calls were not being tapped.
The goal of the government’s effort, the official said, was “to root out confidential sources.”
Since the recent disclosure of secret CIA prisons in Europe and domestic eavesdropping by the National Security Agency, the Bush administration and some members of Congress have called for investigations into leaks, alleging that these, in particular, damaged national security.
“ABC News does not know how the government determined who we are calling, or whether our phone records were provided to the government as part of the recently disclosed NSA collection of domestic phone calls,” Ross and Esposito reported.
There is also a possibility that the tracking is related to the outing of former CIA officer Valerie Plame. “Other sources have told us that phone calls and contacts by reporters for ABC News, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, are being examined as part of a widespread CIA leak investigation,” Ross and Esposito wrote.