Secrecy, Intimidation and the Obama Administration

By Paul Gable

A recent report by the Committee to Protect Journalists says the Obama administration is the most aggressive administration to pursue leaks to journalists since the Nixon administration’s plumbers unit during the Watergate investigation.

This from a president that promised more openness in government while he was running for election in 2008.

Information provided from the Obama administration generally falls into the category of that which makes the administration look good.

Otherwise, it’s overclassify information, nearly unprecedented attempts to control leaks and significant surveillance on journalists to attempt to intimidate them and learn the identity of their sources.

And the attempts to intimidate journalists have not been limited to U.S. government activities alone. It has also included using friendly foreign governments to aid and abet the cause.

Such efforts include, but are not limited to, getting British officials to detain journalists at Heathrow Airport and British intelligence officials overseeing the destruction of computer hard drives at the Guardian’s London offices.

All of this was an attempt to minimize leaks about the U.S. government’s and particularly the National Security Agency’s surveillance of U.S. citizens’ cell phone and computer activity.

Government officials should be empowered to discuss information about the people’s business with the press and the people, not hide behind closed doors.

Government policies and decisions made in secret are generally bad policies and decisions.

Government will not conduct all the people’s business in the sunlight until the citizens’ demand it.

We are not all the way back to the Sedition Act of 1798, which made it illegal to criticize the government and the truth was not a valid defense, but we are getting closer with each administration.

Link to the report: http://www.cpj.org/reports/2013/10/obama-and-the-press-us-leaks-surveillance-post-911.php

 

One Comment

  1. Interesting, hard for me to draw a distinction between Edward Snowden and Daniel Ellsberg.

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