“…our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.” – Thomas Jefferson
LONG BEFORE the Obama administration began unleashing secret searches and dragnets on journalists, making reporting a crime, the governmental fetish to police reporting was utilized by the Bush administration, too. The Obama administration, through Eric Holder’s DOJ, has turned up the heat and freaked out sources of national security reporters, which isn’t going to serve the American people. The similarities between the Bush and Obama administrations in this regard is undeniable.
This is not what the U.S. military is fighting to preserve. In fact, as we celebrate Memorial Day and our veterans and those serving today, what’s being done under the Obama administration is in direct conflict with what they have fought and are fighting still to preserve and protect. I assure you, my uncle Dick didn’t fight for this. Free Speech and the right of the governed to know what is being done in our name is foundational to our democratic republic.
The speech President Obama gave last week on counterterrorism had woven into it a defensive crouch regarding the Obama administrations unprecedented investigations into the press reporting. The only conclusion that can be made from this is that the speech was intended to excite Obama’s supporters through another promise to close Gitmo and change the current “war on terror” reach, which garnered applause from the more naive opining that the Bush era was finally over, but which was really another marketing stunt to confuse and distract from the very real threats the Obama administration is conducting against a free press. It’s not like they haven’t used speeches before to rally supporters.
The York Times tells a 2007 tale of a former N.S.A. professional who spent $70,000 defending himself against aggressive governmental snooping that eventually cost him his business and subsequently $300,000 annually. The entire sordid targeting had the desired outcome, which is the same one the Obama administration is getting by making journalists pay for printing information the government doesn’t want the American people to know. It leads to only one conclusion.
Some officials are now declining to take calls from certain reporters, concerned that any contact may lead to investigation. Some complain of being taken from their offices to endure uncomfortable questioning. And the government officials typically must pay for lawyers themselves, unlike reporters for large news organizations whose companies provide legal representation.
â€œFor every reporter that is dealing with this, there are hundreds of national security officials who feel under siege â€“ without benefit of a corporate legal department or a media megaphone for support,â€ said a former Obama administration official. â€œThere are lots of people in the government spending lots of money on legal fees.â€
[...] â€œThere seems to have been a shift in attitude,â€ said Steven Aftergood, who directs a project on government secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists. â€œThe latest revelations indicate that reportersâ€™ communications are now fair game.â€
Ethan Bronner, Charlie Savage and Scott Shane report in the New York Times that David Sanger was also investigated for his Stuxnet reporting on cyberattacks.
In a separate case last year, F.B.I. agents asked the White House, the Defense Department and intelligence agencies for phone and e-mail logs showing exchanges with a New York Times reporter writing about computer attacks on Iran. Agents grilled officials about their contacts with him, two people familiar with the investigation said.
However, as we’re reminded today, back in June 2012 David Sanger told Gawker’s John Cook that the government never objected to his story. That Barack Obama was happy using the press and looking the other way when it benefited him. Connor Simpson makes a logical conclusion that is revelatory.
The intense investigation into Sanger is a little confusing. There were discussions when the story came out about how it seemed the White House may have leaked the story. Or, at the very least, they liked it. It showed the President taking action against Iran during election season. Sanger told Gawker’s John Cook the White didn’t protest the story being released. The White House didn’t actually leak the story, Sanger said, but they didn’t fight him about it either.
The Presidents Club changes politicians eventually. Unlimited, unfettered, unchecked power corrupts absolutely.