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Oh, Nelly, she’s havin’ the vapors! 52 media groups protested the Department of Justice’s wide-ranging seizures of telephone records on Associated Press reporters in an effort to find the source of a leak on a counterterrorist operation. Apparently, they’re doubly worried that the DoJ didn’t inform them they were the subject of an investigation until a year later. Imagine how much freer we’d be if the media had been this interested in any of the other abuses of power that the administration has pursued these past five years.

Already, the administration is in “lying our asses off” mode, with Eric “Pinnochio” Holder claim he “doesn’t know” how many orders for data seizures he signed. That brings up a few interesting problems: 1) Incompetence — Holder wasn’t smart enough to pull the information before going out to flap his yap on the matter, 2) Arrogance — Holder didn’t feel he needed to have that information…after all, the media’s been covering up for the Chicago gang for five years, why stop now? (Answer: Because sycophants don’t like to be scorned by the object of their adulation.) or 3) HE’S LYING. Maybe because they actually did much worse and they’re trying to stave off discovery of wiretaps or other surveillance techniques used, or maybe because the administration is so used to prevarication it now comes naturally, or maybe because what they did wasn’t exactly legal…

Let’s turn to the US Attorney’s Manual 9-13.400 (News Media Subpoenas; Subpoenas for Telephone Toll Records of News Media; Interrogation, Arrest, or Criminal Charging of Members of the News Media) to see a few things you should know about subpoenaing evidence, Mr. Holder:

Section 50.10(g)(1): “should be as narrowly drawn as possible; it should be directed at relevant information regarding a limited subject matter and should cover a reasonably limited time period.”

Sections 50.10(b) and 50.10(g)(1): This requires you to take all investigative steps before a wiretap or draw of confidential records can be subpoenaed. “We couldn’t get any one to talk, judge. Can we have a wiretap?” “Well, sure, Eric — just don’t forget to invite me to the next swanky White House dinner!)

Section 50.10(d): This is the part where you are required to tell the person they are under investigation unless it would “pose a substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation.”