A senior federal law enforcement official tells ABC News the government
is tracking the phone numbers we (Brian Ross and Richard Esposito) call in an
effort to root out confidential sources.
"It's time for you to get some new cell phones, quick," the source
told us in an in-person conversation.
ABC News does not know how the government determined who we are calling, or
whether our phone records were provided to the government as part of the recently-disclosed
NSA collection of domestic phone calls.
Other sources have told us that phone calls and contacts by reporters for ABC
News, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, are being examined
as part of a widespread CIA leak investigation.
One former official was asked to sign a document stating he was not a confidential
source for New York Times reporter James Risen.
Our reports on the CIA's secret prisons in Romania and Poland were known to
have upset CIA officials. The CIA asked for an FBI investigation of leaks of
classified information following those reports.
People questioned by the FBI about leaks of intelligence information say the
CIA was also disturbed by ABC News reports that revealed the use of CIA predator
missiles inside Pakistan.
Under Bush Administration guidelines, it is not considered illegal for the
government to keep track of numbers dialed by phone customers.
The official who warned ABC News said there was no indication our phones were
being tapped so the content of the conversation could be recorded.
A pattern of phone calls from a reporter, however, could provide valuable clues
for leak investigators.