Reid: ‘I Have Trouble Defending’ What DOJ Did in AP Scandal

By Melanie Arter | May 15, 2013 | 1:18 PM EDT

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) (AP Photo)

( Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday said he had “trouble defending” the Justice Department for secretly obtaining months of phone records of reporters and editors for the Associated Press.

“I have trouble defending what the Justice Department did in going after, looking at the AP,” Reid said, adding that the DOJ’s actions are “inexcusable” and “there’s no way to justify this.”

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According to the AP, the records obtained by the DOJ listed outgoing calls for work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, general AP office numbers in New York, Washington, and Hartford, Conn., and the main number for the AP in the U.S. House’s press gallery – more than 20 phone lines in all from April and May 2012.

“Now I really believe in the First Amendment. I think it’s one of the great things we have as a country, and I don’t know who did it or why it was done, but it’s inexcusable, and there’s no way to justify this. In my career, I’ve stood consistently for freedom of the press,” he said.

Reid added that he would “look further into whether more legislative action is needed in this regard - to secure freedom of the press.”