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Laura Malone, general counsel of the Associated Press, has found herself in the middle of a struggle with the Obama Administration over the global news organization’s seized phone records—or as AP put it: “a serious interference with AP’s constitutional rights to gather and report the news.”

Friday afternoon Malone received a letter from U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen Jr. of the District of Columbia. It said that the U.S. Department of Justice had secretly obtained two months worth of phone records earlier this year on some 20 AP phone lines in various cities.

Malone, who couldn’t immediately be reached for comment, has served more than two years as acting general counsel for the AP. Prior to that she was the organization’s associate general counsel for intellectual property.

After mulling over Machen’s letter during the weekend, the AP responded on Monday with its own letter to Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., written by chief executive Gary Pruitt.

Pruitt’s letter [PDF] says:

“These records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the newsgathering activities undertaken by the AP during a two-month period, provide a road map to AP’s newsgathering operations, and disclose information about AP’s activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know.”

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