The wide sweep of the subpoena — across AP bureaus in Washington, New York and Hartford, Conn. — and the lack of advance warning make the government's approach look "more like a dragnet" than the narrowly drafted request the Justice Department guidelines say is required, Dalglish said.
University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone said Justice Department officials are aware that the broader they cast the net, the more questions they will face. "They reached as far as they did because it was the only way to get the information they needed," Stone said.
As for the lack of notice, he said, it was at least plausible to believe that the authorities "really want to catch this guy who leaked really bad information, from their perspective. They didn't want to do anything to scare him off."