Obama prosecuted 10 whistleblowers and spied on more than 21 reporters. Who’s the Real Threat to the Press? Trump, obviously!

In 2013, The Obama Administration Secretly Obtained Phone Records of AP Journalists

In 2013, the Obama Department of Justice secretly obtained two months of phone records (1) for at least 20 reporters and editors who work for the Associated Press news agency, including records for the home phones and cell phones of individual journalists reporters and editors, and the AP’s direct line within the House of Representatives.

  1. The department of Justice secretly obtained phone records for reporters and editors who work for the Associated Press news agency, in what the agency characterized as “serious interference with AP’s constitutional rights to gather and report the news.”The records, covering all of April and May 2012, were seized by the DoJ earlier that year and covered more than 20 separate phone lines. The records listed outgoing calls for both the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, as well as the general phone lines for AP bureaus in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and a main number used by AP reporters in the House of Representatives.
  2. According to CBS, Court documents released in May, 2013 show the Obama administration secretly monitored a Washington journalist. In seeking a search warrant, the FBI called Fox News’ James Rosen a “criminal co-conspirator,” even though he isn’t charged with any crime.This “level of government surveillance of a reporter was unprecedented” wrote the editorial page (2).
  3. CNN’s Jake Tapper — to his rare credit — pointed out that Obama had used the Espionage Act “to go after whistleblowers who leaked to journalists not just than any previous administration, but then more than all previous administrations combined.” (3)Regardless for reality, and ignoring the Obama administration’s abuses, the media describes Obama as “a champion of press freedom”.
  4. In April 17, 2020 The Committee to Protect Journalists published a harsh report (4) about the Trump administration and the media.Deeply buried in the report (which mentions Trump north of 200 times and former President Barack Obama about a dozen), are these nuggets:

– “Barack Obama promised that his administration would be the most transparent in history. Instead it became the most determined to limit information that the news media needed to hold the government accountable for its actions.”

– “Yet, the Obama administration ‘never engaged in public rhetoric against the press,’ noted University of Georgia media law professor Jonathan Peters.”

– “Most significantly, the Obama administration prosecuted 10 government employees and contractors for disclosing classified information to the press. Eight of the prosecutions were under the 1917 Espionage Act, which was enacted during World War I to protect the country against spies for foreign governments. It had been used only three times in the nine decades before Obama took office.”

– “The large number of prosecutions of news sources by Trump’s Justice Department ‘is the fault of the Obama administration,’ Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan told me. ‘It created a blueprint that has been easy to follow. The use of the Espionage Act for this kind of thing is terrible.’ ”

“The prosecution of individuals under the Espionage Act is a direct threat to investigative journalism, which often relies on whistleblowers to provide reporters with information of the public interest, whether it be due to moral, ethical or legal concerns,” said Sabine Dolan, interim Executive Director of Reporters without borders (RSF) North America bureau.

RSF accused the Trump administration in May 10, 2019 of prosecuting three whistleblowers. (5).

But the big scandal du jour is that The Trump Justice Department secretly seized the phone records of three Washington Post reporters who covered the federal investigation into ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, the newspaper said Friday.

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/15/opinion/spying-on-the-associated-press.html
  2. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/fox-news-reporter-secretly-monitored-by-obama-administration-court-documents/
  3. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1401/02/cg.01.html
  4. https://www.startribune.com/rash-report-a-pointed-report-on-the-trump-administration-and-the-media/569742462/
  5. https://rsf.org/en/news/us-trump-administration-prosecutes-third-whistleblower-under-espionage-act

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