U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said he's deeply troubled by the U.S. government's seizure of phone records of Associated Press reporters and editors.
The Connecticut Democrat said on Tuesday the Justice Department "must be forthcoming with the facts as soon as possible."
He said constitutional principles of free expression protect the press from government intrusion and he is concerned the investigative action may fail to meet the government's burden.
AP attorneys said the records obtained by the Justice Department listed outgoing calls for the phone numbers of individual reporters and for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Connecticut.
The government would not say why it sought the records. AP President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt sent a letter of protest Monday to Attorney General Eric Holder.
Andrew Schneider, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, said the ACLU is “alarmed.”
"We're alarmed by this sweeping use of subpoena power to obtain journalists' private records, including phone records from the Hartford bureau of the Associated Press. Intimidation of the press and of whistleblowers must not be tolerated. The Department of Justice has a lot of explaining to do," Schneider said in a statement.
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy is looking for answers.
“We rely on the Department of Justice to enforce federal laws in our country and help keep Americans safe, and we trust that the leadership there is working steadfastly to accomplish that mission,” he said in a statement. “It's incumbent on the Justice Department to explain why they've seized telephone records from reporters and editors at The Associated Press so that their actions don't have a chilling effect on the freedom of the press.”