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Obama targets journalists

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Now that the 2012 presidential election is decided and Romney is the Republican nominee (in the sense that he's the only one left), it's OK to talk about what the current resident is up to, right?

After all, he's going to be the unfettered future resident, as he and I both see it.

So let's start at the beginning, with the government's War on Government Whistleblowers (my emphasis and reparagraphing):

For two years I have been writing about the criminalization of whistleblowing, or as Glenn Greenwald has put it more aptly, the “war on whistleblowers.” I’m an attorney with the Government Accountability Project, the nation’s leading whistleblower organization.

How did I get into this line of work? Because I myself was a whistleblower when I worked as a Legal Advisor at the Justice Department and blew the whistle when my advice not to interrogate “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh without an attorney (and, parenthetically, not to torture him) was ignored and then “disappeared” from the file in contravention of a federal court discovery order.

After I blew the whistle, the Justice Department retaliated against me by, among other things, placing me under criminal investigation, referring me to the state bars in which I’m licensed as a lawyer based on a secret report to which I did not have access, and putting me on the “No-Fly” List.
I hope you noticed that use of the No-Fly List. It's not there for nothing; it's for the State to beat you with, any time it wants.

So what's Obama doing?
While the Bush administration treated whistleblowers unmercifully, the Obama administration has been far worse. It is actually prosecuting them, and doing so under the Espionage Act — one of the most serious charges that can be leveled against an American.
And why is he doing this, according to the writer?
At first I thought Obama’s war on whistleblowers was meant to appease the intelligence establishment, which saw him as weak.

I soon recognized this assault as a devious way to create bad precedent for going after journalists. All the Espionage Act cases involve allegations that the government employee “leaked” information (or retained information for the purpose of leaking it) to journalists.

[For example, the] government’s spectacularly failed case against NSA whistleblower Tom Drake claimed that he allegedly retained allegedly classified information for the purpose of leaking it to Siobhan Gorman, then with the Baltimore Sun. It turned out that he disclosed unclassified information about a failed and wasteful (multi-billion dollar) NSA spy program that compromised Americans’ privacy.
And there are plenty more examples, including this:
In the most extreme proof yet that the war on whistleblowers is also a war on journalists, Glenn Greenwald’s explosive piece last night detailed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) repeatedly detaining and interrogating Oscar- and Emmy-nominated documentarian Laura Poitras, who has filmed three of my NSA clients for the third installment of her War on Terror trilogy.

Not surprisingly, her latest film will be about the government’s ever-expanding secret domestic surveillance, NSA treating our nation like a foreign country for spying purposes, and the war on whistleblowers.
The Greenwald piece she refers to is here. A taste:
One of the more extreme government abuses of the post-9/11 era targets U.S. citizens re-entering their own country, and it has received far too little attention.

With no oversight or legal framework whatsoever, the Department of Homeland Security routinely singles out individuals who are suspected of no crimes, detains them and questions them at the airport, often for hours, when they return to the U.S. after an international trip, and then copies and even seizes their electronic devices (laptops, cameras, cellphones) and other papers (notebooks, journals, credit card receipts), forever storing their contents in government files.

No search warrant is needed for any of this. No oversight exists And there are no apparent constraints on what the U.S. Government can do with regard to whom it decides to target or why.

In an age of international travel — where large numbers of citizens, especially those involved in sensitive journalism and activism, frequently travel outside the country — this power renders the protections of the Fourth Amendment entirely illusory.
This is the State in action. Bush grew the State to a certain humongous size. Obama is growing it larger. And I'm not talking budget; I'm talking reach and will-to-power.

Welcome to your Unfettered Obama. Which way do you think he'll turn, come 2013?

The writer, by the way, is Jesselyn Raddack. She's the author of the book TRAITOR: The Whistleblower and the American Taliban.


To follow on Twitter or send links: @Gaius_Publius

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