Monday, March 07, 2011

"Shredding" the Constitution?: Obama's crackdown on leaks 

You'd think the press would be losing its mind over this:

The Obama administration, which famously pledged to be the most transparent in American history, is pursuing an unexpectedly aggressive legal offensive against federal workers who leak secret information to expose wrongdoing, highlight national security threats or pursue a personal agenda.

In just over two years since President Barack Obama took office, prosecutors have filed criminal charges in five separate cases involving unauthorized distribution of classified national security information to the media. And the government is now mulling what would be the most high-profile case of them all - prosecuting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

That’s a sharp break from recent history, when the U.S. government brought such cases on three occasions in roughly 40 years.

And then there is this gem:
Still, leak prosecutions brought under Obama amount to “almost twice as many as all previous presidents put together,” noted Daniel Ellsberg, who changed history and helped set a legal precedent when he handed the Pentagon’s top-secret assessment of the Vietnam War to New York Times reporters four decades ago. “The campaign here against whistleblowers is actually unprecedented in legal terms.”

If George Bush had done... oh, never mind. In the unleashing of media outrage, it is not what the president does, but who the president is.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Mar 07, 03:37:00 PM:

The age of the internet and the ubiquitous nature of small digital storage greatly increase the ease of breaching security. I have no problem prosecuting anyone who, for any reason, discloses confidential or secret info--even if they are convinced it is in the best interest of the country. We simply can't protect our country's secrets if anyone with access can decide on their own if they wil follow the law, or disclose secrets because they think it is the right thing to do. How would you feel if your lawyer were free to choose not to observe the attorney-client privilege if he/she felt that you didn't deserve to have your secrets protected from the public (or the prosecutors)?  

By Anonymous Old Fan, at Mon Mar 07, 04:45:00 PM:

Great post...

The lies of the Democratic Partisan Administration were obvious long ago.

They have lied about transparency, signing statements, earmarks, taxation, AARP support, executive orders, GITMO, IRAQ, fiscal responsibility, non-partisan demeanor, etc.

Here is another vivid contradiction turned joke:
"Obama Approves Restart of Guantanamo Trials"

Every turn, every day, we learn the vapid Democratic Party's offering has been proven wrong - completely absurd. They lied their way into power, leading a partisan denial which turned every policy offered by their political competition into some evil conspiracy. Now they embrace all the Bush Administration policies, including those tax cuts, fighting the GWOT (especially in Afghanistan), the Patriot Act, etc.

"Smart Power" is a joke:
"The intellectual failure of 'smart diplomacy'..."  

By Anonymous Old Fan, at Mon Mar 07, 09:10:00 PM:

Here's another interesting take on the same theme, Democrats were wrong, adopt Bush Administration policies - (but will continue to parade the lies to the public, both foreign and domestic):

"Obama Ratifies Bush "  

By Blogger Neil Sinhababu, at Tue Mar 08, 03:29:00 AM:

The press was more or less fine with Bush doing it, and they're pretty much fine with Obama doing it too. Civil libertarians like Glenn Greenwald and a bunch of genuine lefties scream at both Bush and Obama, but they don't have a lot of power and most people basically ignore the complaints.

It's really easy to accuse liberals of hypocrisy when you get to make up your liberals, as usually happens on this blog.  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Tue Mar 08, 04:21:00 AM:

Neil, that's just a gigantic stinking crock. We had it crammed down our throats for years how Bush was ignoring the Constitution, that Gitmo prisoners had Constitutional rights, that Gitmo was causing us to "lose face" in the Muslim world etc. ad nauseam. Now you're just wishing it all away, it was just few left wingnuts like Greenwals that nobody took seriously (except when they were on the Bush-bashing train).

It is *exactly* people like you who drove me away from the Democrat party. The sophistry is simply mind-boggling.  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Tue Mar 08, 04:33:00 AM:

Inventory *this*, Neil:

Obama's promise to close Gitmo

Money quote:

"I intend to close Guantanamo, and I will follow through on that," the president-elect told CBS on Nov. 16, 2008. Doing so, Obama explained, would be "part and parcel of an effort to regain America's moral stature in the world."

Well, maybe you're right - Obama is a genuine lefty without much power who people ignore.  

By Anonymous Ignoramus, at Tue Mar 08, 08:22:00 AM:

... and now Obama says he'll resume military trials for Gitmo prisoners.

I actually believe that Obama and Axelrod run stories like "Gitmo trials" and "KSM in NYC" and "Dick Cheney's waterboarding" from time to time when they want to distract MSM and the rest of us away from other things that need deeper coverage. These stories get started, get coverage, and then never go anywhere. But a week passes with no deeper follow-up on other current items.

... or maybe I'm just paranoid about the failings of our MSM.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Mar 08, 10:48:00 AM:

Drop all study (as if there were any) of the Kenyan's Bush policies! The recent secret video of the NPR folks looking bad MUST BE DISCREDITED!!
Every one of those evil, racist, baby panda killing folks who planned and executed the video must be examined carefully. Go back just 3 or 4 generations. We must know if they've ever fished without a license, parked over the line or did not stand back while others got off the train, anything that will discredit the videographers.
You know the drill, same as Palin, and drop everything that might make Bush look less than terrible or Obama less that perfect. As union members, you all will be subject to union discipline on this!!  

By Blogger Neil Sinhababu, at Wed Mar 09, 06:19:00 AM:

Gary, did you actually listen to what those Democrats were saying before you left the party? Because you sure didn't read what I wrote.

It turns out that I agree with you -- Obama has been a complete hypocrite on this issue. But the original post wasn't about Obama's hypocrisy. It was about the press. And that's the group of people who have been mostly consistent.

The same voices in the press -- Greenwald foremost among them -- who criticized Bush on Gitmo are now criticizing Obama. They're consistent. Obama isn't.  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Thu Mar 10, 03:44:00 AM:

I'm sure you can link us to all those editorials in the NYT, WaPo and LAT that enthusiastically supported Bush on Gitmo while condemning BO for wanting to close it, Neil.  

By Anonymous Bird of Paradise, at Fri Mar 11, 11:22:00 AM:

Big Brother Obama using the internet to further create the real meaning of the UNITED NATIONS and GEORGE ORWELL and 1984  

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