Let’s just cut to the chase shall we. The Obama Administration assuming that it has the authority to seize the phone records of the Associated Press in the manner in which they did is rich, about as rich as the Chicago Bulls loudly expressing that Lebron James is a flopper. (Go Heat!)
The uproar that has surrounded the news of the Justice Department’s actions was taken to another level yesterday when Attorney General Eric Holder gave an impromptu press conference.
The Attorney General said that the investigators at the DOJ were pursuing a “very serious leak” that put the “American people at risk.” Forgive me but that sounds an awful lot like the words of past Administrations who have tried to throw their weight around and bully a free press into doing it’s bidding instead of reporting facts no matter where they may lead. Think Nixon White House, Daniel Ellsburg, and the Pentagon Papers.
What’s even more galling is Administrations of both parties find no problem whatsoever concerning leaks from within when they can either benefit from them or use them to settle a score. The Obama Administration in their eagerness to flex their foreign policy muscles came under scrutiny last summer for repeated leaks about it’s cyberwar against Iran, and it’s targeting of militants for drone attacks. There were also leaks from the Administration concerning the raid that led to the capture of Osama bin Laden.
Clearly this Administration learned from the previous one on this issue. If you gave Dick Cheney a considerable amount of time I’m sure he could come up with a plausible explanation for the leaking of the name of former CIA Agent Valerie Plame Wilson. What was even more deplorable on the part of Darth Vader was him ordering his boy Scooter Libby to take his (Cheney’s) hit and fall on justice’s sword.
Talking to NPR, The AP’s lawyer David Schultz said that there are laws and guidelines that were put in place during the reign of Nixon that protected the media from the wrath of elected officials.
The Attorney General himself must sign off on a subpoena to a reporter. Prosecutors must also demonstrate that they made every effort to get the information in other ways before even turning to the press.
Given how aggressively they have gone after whistle blowers (Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, John Kiriakou, and Thomas Drake to name a few) the chances of the Obama Administration following those guidelines are slim and none.
I am as much a far left, pro choice, pro marriage equality, redistribution of wealth guy you will ever find. It bothers me that right now in Washington D.C., Republicans have taken the lead on fake scandals like Benghazi and the I.R.S., and some(d)emocrats in congress and some in the media have taken the bait.
Some things however defy political description though and the situation with the AP is one of them. Republicans on this issue are blatantly hypocritical because they were quiet during the Bush years, and because last summer they skewered the Obama White House for the amount of leaks coming out at that time, but that doesn’t mean Progressives should be just as quiet now. It’s not those of us on the far left who have moved the goalposts, it’s the Administration and the DOJ.