The FBI has monitored telephone conversations of at least four journalists in connection with the arrest of Puerto Rican Senator Jorge de Castro Font.
A federal grand jury indicted the senator in October on charges of bribery, wire fraud and money laundering. He is awaiting trial.
As part of its investigation, the FBI installed wiretaps on two of Font’s telephones. Last week, the FBI notified at least four reporters that conversations they had with the senator were among the conversations intercepted, said Oscar J. Serrano, president of the Puerto Rico Journalists Association.
Serrano was contacted by the four reporters, including one with a radio station, one with a newswire agency and two with television stations. Other reporters may also have received notification letters.
Font’s telephones were monitored for most of the summer, according to one letter sent to a reporter.
Though the letters make clear that the FBI was monitoring Font’s communication, and not that of reporters, Serrano said the interception affects reporters’ ability to gather news.
Serrano said his organization plans to file a motion with the judge requesting copies of the tapes. In the alternative, he’d like to see the tapes destroyed, although it doesn’t appear that the federal wiretapping statute permits a judge to allow destruction.