Report: Obama Admin's Stranglehold on Media

"Seemingly innocuous e-mails not containing classified information can be construed as a crime.”

Obama makes a box shape with his hands.

In an Oct. 4, in a Washington Post article based on his unsettling report, “The Obama Administration and the Press,” Leonard Downie Jr., Journalism Professor at Arizona State, highlights some of the means by which the “control-freak” Obama administration stifles media accountability. The piece paints a damning picture of the administration’s intimidation of the media"

...journalists who cover national security are facing vast and unprecedented challenges in their efforts to hold the government accountable to its citizens.

Downie argues that the Washington has been tightening the reins on the media since the passage of the Patriot Act of 2001. But the Obama administration has clamped down with unprecedented pressure.

Via the 1917 Espionage Act—sparingly invoked prior to Obama’s tenure—the White House has aggressively tracked down and prosecuted potential sources of government leaks, collecting journalists’ and government officials’ phone and email records.

In response, news organizations across the nation are creating firewalls for themselves and their sources—avoiding traceable contact, establishing separate computer networks, and encrypting communication—as Downie puts it, “to keep their sources from becoming casualties” in the administration’s leak crackdown.

But these protective measures often do not prove to be enough to protect journalists and their sources:

Times reporter Scott Shane, whose e-mail traffic with the former CIA officer was seized, told me that the chilling lesson “is that seemingly innocuous e-mails not containing classified information can be construed as a crime.”

The result? Fear, distrust, and an administration that has turned unprecedented control into an unprecedented lack of accountability. 

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