From available reports, the effort involved data screening of news reporters' phone calls. It appears to be no different than data mining exercises applied to known or suspected terrorists.
These days there is no bright line separating legal from illegal surveillance of citizens by the state. It is all according to "deciders" who control data-gathering technologies. Not even elections are safe.
It is hard to be calm, along this line. The mind races. While we are driven to distraction with every form of digital interaction, a gigantic national security state surrounds us.
On the one hand, Congress can't even agree to back down the TSA from its air passenger screening criteria. On the other hand, TV shows like HBO "Veep" show us willing to laugh at excesses of power filtered through comedy. Veep's most poignant story line is the competition among senior aides to be closest to the president. This fight has been won by his pollster; a data-driven character whose worth is weighed by a comedic deficit of emotion or empathy. ... funny and not.
Of today's raging controversies, what happened to the AP news reporters and editors is the most chilling.