Attorney Who Okayed AP Phone Taps Also Represented Firm That Allegedly Hacked David Einhorn

Ronald MachenThe New York Times’ Gretchen Morgenson asks the following question this morning: is it a coincidence that the attorney who approved tracking the Associated Press’s phone calls was also involved in hacking David Einhorn’s phones eight years ago?

Here’s the back story, according to Morgenson:

In 2004, Allied Capital was accused of illicitly accessing the phone records of David Einhorn, as well as CNBC’s Herb Greenberg (then with Marketwatch) and an unnamed research analyst. 

Each had previously criticised Allied’s accounting and business practices.

Ronald C. Machen Jr., the guy in the new AP case, was then serving as counsel for Allied.

At first, Allied denied any wrongdoing.

But in 2006, they received a subpoena from the United States attorney’s office for the District of Columbia requesting records “regarding the use of private investigators by Allied Capital or its agents.”

Allied eventually admitted “that an agent of the company obtained what were represented to be telephone records of David Einhorn and which purport to be records of calls from Greenlight Capital during a period of time in 2005.”

In 2009, Machen was nominated for his current post, U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.

In his official nominee questionnaire, he included his involvement in the Einhorn case as an example of the “most significant legal activities” he’d pursued in his career.

In the end, the Justice Department’s investigation didn’t go anywhere, and Allied never admitted any wrongdoing.

For the latest on the AP case, check out Josh Gerstein’s dissection of how the Justice Department is going after leaks given the Washington Post’s revelation that were treating Fox reporter Josh Rosen as a criminal. 

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