Jewish World Review May 22, 2013/ 13 Sivan, 5773
On press freedoms, Obama races Nixon to bottom
By Clarence Page
Despite what you may hear from some of his more fevered critics, President
I'm talking about the
Plugging up leaks has returned as the alleged mission of the current
A week earlier, the
So much for the promise on President Obama's transition website to strengthen "whistle-blower laws to protect federal workers." Since then, his administration has been more likely than any of its predecessors to try to silence and prosecute federal workers.
The Espionage Act was used only three times to bring cases against government officials accused of leaking classified information to the media before President Obama took office. It has since been used six times. So far.
No one should be surprised, says attorney
Worse than Nixon? Goodale ought to know. He was the general counsel for the
Forty-two years later, Goodale has written a new book, "Fighting for the Press: The Inside Story of the Pentagon Papers and Other Battles," just in time for a new wave of leak-plugging questions in the post-
Full disclosure: Goodale and I also happen to be members of the board of directors of the
Future efforts to obtain phone records or other information essential to newsgathering, the letter asks, "should be communicated to the news organization in advance so that the action can be challenged in court as justice demands."
That's been standard practice in the past under
Besides, it's probably not going to hurt Obama much politically. Hating leaks and the media are a bipartisan pastime for politicians, especially presidents. The AP seizures, for example, came after outraged Republican lawmakers demanded action to find the leakers of a foiled plot by al-Qaida's affiliate in
Republicans suspected the leaks may have come from somewhere close to the Oval Office, since it revealed a counterterrorism success that the Obama administration was not at all unhappy to let the public know about. That would not be surprising. But sometimes the public needs to know what the government is not happy to let you know about.
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