Author Topic: Obama's war on whistleblowers and journalists is a real one  (Read 1651 times)

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Offline mayya

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Obama's war on whistleblowers and journalists is a real one
« on: November 02, 2014, 13:52:21 PM »
Obama's war on whistleblowers and journalists is a real one

November 1, 20142:55 PM MST
Amid the Obama administration's crackdown against whistleblowers,, the 2008 website of the Obama transition team laying out the candidate's promises, has disappeared from the internet.
When Barack Obama became president he promised that he would run the most transparent administration in history. A staunch supporter of free speech and the freedom of the press, many Americans stood by the president with hopes that things might change. Fast forward six years later and Barack Obama hasn't held up his end of the bargain.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

During a White House press briefing on Wednesday, Press Secretary Josh Earnest was questioned about a recent leak that quoted a “senior administration official” calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a "chickens**t." Earnest deflected, but was questioned by Ed Henry of Fox News who asked whether the administration would go after the person responsible for the leak, to which he responded "no." In an October 30 article in The Washington Post, former New York Times reporter James Risen was asked if he knew anything about the leaks, but simply responded with, "I don’t know what he’s talking about, frankly."

James Risen, also a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author, is facing possible jail time for refusing to give up his source of information in a story he detailed in his 2006 book, State of War. In the book, Risen alleges that the Bush administration worked with the CIA to carry out Operation Merlin, which intended to send false information to Iran about creating a nuclear weapons program. The plan, according to Risen, backfired, and only led to helping Iran as opposed to hindering their progress. Risen was investigated by the Bush administration and his e-mail and phone conversations with his alleged source, former CIA Operations Officer, Jeffrey Alexander Sterling, were monitored. Risen was subpoenaed in 2008, something he has been frightening since, but after the Obama administration renewed the order in 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in July of 2013 that Risen must appear and testify. The trial is set to begin in January of 2015.

This isn't the first time that the Obama administration has come down on journalists or governmentwhistleblowers. A report by The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) shows how hard the Obama administration has gone after journalists and whistleblowers over the course of his six years in the White House. According to the report, "the Obama administration has secured 526 months of prison time for national security leakers, versus only 24 months total jail time for everyone else since the American Revolution."

Prior to Obama taking office, the list of journalists and whistleblowers to be targeted and/or prosecuted by the government is a short one, including the more high-profiled case involving Daniel Ellsberg and Anthony Russo, who in 1973 released the infamous " Pentagon Papers." Since the start of the Obama administration, however, things have been different. NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake "revealed waste at the agency in connection with the Trailblazer Project," and was sentenced to a year probation after all espionage charges were dropped. Other whistleblowers, such as John Kiriakou, Donald Sachtleben, Stephen Kim, were sentenced to nearly 90 months of jail time. Chelsea Manning, the former U.S. Army solider, was sentenced in July of 2013 to 35 years in prison for her involvement with WikiLeaks and violations of the Espionage Act.

The highest profiled case for a whistleblower during the Obama administration has been Edward Snowden, the former government contractor who leaked classified information about the National Security Agency (NSA). Snowden's revelations included mass global surveillance, which have been run by the NSA and included bulk collection of phone and e-mail data of American citizens. After having his U.S. passport revoked in the summer of 2013, Snowden has since taken up temporary asylum in Russia. The public has been split over their opinion of Snowden, with some calling him a hero, while others believe he is a traitor, putting the country's national security at risk.

The idea of the freedom of the press was to hold the government's feet to the fire, acting as the fourth branch of government. While Obama campaigned to be the most transparent administration in history, he has proven to be anything but that during his time in the White House. Government whistleblowers and the journalists that break the stories are doing their job, but in a country that claims to be a free society, it seems as if it is anything but one.