Saturday, October 12, 2013

Obama's efforts to control leaks 'most aggressive since Nixon', report finds
Barack Obama has pursued the most aggressive "war on leaks" since the Nixon administration, according to a report published on Thursday that says the administration's attempts to control the flow of information is hampering the ability of journalists to do their jobs.

The author of the study, the former Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie, says the administration's actions have severely hindered the release of information that could be used to hold it to account.

Downie, an editor during the Post's investigations of Watergate, acknowledged that Obama had inherited a culture of secrecy that had built up since 9/11. But despite promising to be more open, Obama had become "more aggressive", stepping up the Espionage Act to pursue those accused of leaking classified information....

Report: Obama brings chilling effect on journalism
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. government's aggressive prosecution of leaks and efforts to control information are having a chilling effect on journalists and government whistle-blowers, according to a report released Thursday on U.S. press freedoms under the Obama administration.

The Committee to Protect Journalists conducted its first examination of U.S. press freedoms amid the Obama administration's unprecedented number of prosecutions of government sources and seizures of journalists' records. Usually the group focuses on advocating for press freedoms abroad....

Obama administration cracks down on journalists more than any since Woodrow Wilson
...There's a general assumption, shared by many conservatives as well as most liberals, that small government conservatives are more likely than big government liberals to infringe on civil liberties. The actions of the Wilson and Obama administrations show that this is not always the case.

Why reporters fear Team Obama
...These concerns, expressed by numerous journalists I interviewed, are well-founded. Relying on the 1917 Espionage Act, which was rarely invoked before President Obama took office, this administration has secretly used the phone and e-mail records of government officials and reporters to identify and prosecute government sources for national-security stories.

Just two weeks ago, the Justice Department announced that Donald Sachtleben, a former FBI bomb technician who had also worked as a contractor for the bureau, had agreed to plead guilty to “unlawfully disclosing national-defense information relating to a disrupted terrorist plot” in Yemen last year.

“Sachtleben was identified as a suspect in the case of this unauthorized disclosure” to an Associated Press reporter, according to the announcement, “only after toll records for phone numbers related to the reporter were obtained through a subpoena and compared to other evidence collected during the leak investigation.”...