Sunday, March 05, 2006

White House: Free press free, only to agree

The White House is pissed and they're gunning for the whistleblowers who have exposed their overarching and illegal abuse of power. In a mind numbing display of hypocrisy, they're bringing out the heavy artillery to quash the independence of the press, while at the same time they're pulling out all the stops to coverup their own politically driven, national security compromising leaks to further their self-serving agenda. It's simply evil.
"There's a tone of gleeful relish in the way they talk about dragging reporters before grand juries, their appetite for withholding information, and the hints that reporters who look too hard into the public's business risk being branded traitors," said New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller, in a statement responding to questions from The Washington Post. "I don't know how far action will follow rhetoric, but some days it sounds like the administration is declaring war at home on the values it professes to be promoting abroad."
Indeed, but then promoting freedom and democracy at home doesn't enrich the coffers of their corporate cronies. They trot out the same tired soundbites to justify this craven vendetta.
"We need to protect the right to free speech and the First Amendment, and the president is doing that," said White House spokesman Trent Duffy. "But, at the same time, we do need to protect classified information which helps fight the war on terror."
Yeah, the administration that invented chain link fenced free speech zones and routinely arrests people for bumper stickers and tshirts are real champions of free expression all right.
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said last month that he is considering legislation that would criminalize the leaking of a wider range of classified information than what is now covered by law. The measure would be similar to earlier legislation that was vetoed by President Bill Clinton in 2000 and opposed by then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft in 2002.
Well that should be handy since they've been busy reclassifying information that's been in the public domain for over fifty years. With a White House that's taken secrecy to such a high art, if they get their way the only thing the citizenry will be allowed to read or talk about is American Idol reruns.
The Espionage Act makes it a crime for a government official with access to "national defense information" to communicate it intentionally to any unauthorized person. A 1950 amendment aimed at Soviet spying broadened the law, forbidding an unauthorized recipient of the information to pass it on, or even to keep it to himself.
The White House threatens to prosecute the press under this act for disclosing their malfeasance while simply ignoring their own breaches of the public trust.
[V]ice chairman of the same committee, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), complained in a letter to the national intelligence director last month that "damaging revelations of intelligence sources and methods are generated primarily by Executive Branch officials pushing a particular policy, and not by the rank-and-file employees of the intelligence agencies."

As evidence, Rockefeller points to the case of Valerie Plame, a CIA officer whose identity was leaked to the media. A grand jury investigation by Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald resulted last year in the jailing of Judith Miller, then a reporter at the New York Times, for refusing to testify, and in criminal charges against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who resigned as Vice President Cheney's chief of staff. In court papers, Libby has said that his "superiors" authorized him to disclose a classified government report.
The White House has zero credibility on this issue. They drag their feet over investigating internal leaks in their highest circles but jump right on the stick when the leaks don't serve their agenda. If the administration continues on this thinly disguised pursuit of revenge for having had their misdeeds exposed, one hopes and expects the blowback will blow the GOP out of contention for generations to come.
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Blogger enigma4ever said...

Well, let's hope Rove or Cheney gets indicted by Fitz soon - that will really lower their credibility much lower can it get....interesting that they are being so hard on the NYT- the Grey Lady really towed the tale for them all through pimping the War ( Judy the Stenographer)

Really good summary and assessment of a a truly crappy situation...let's hope that this does not get worse....I have hope that the Elections, Duke going down and Tommy-Boy woes , and Abramoff woes will cut some of this short at the knees on this First Amendment Strong Arm Action....
I will read around for a bit...Like your blog....
( thanks for visiting over at watergatesummer)

12:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Libby said...

I've been visiting your blog for some time now E4E. I have to change your listing on the blogroll from your name to the blog name one of these days. Keep up the good work yourself.

Together, we'll make a difference.

9:13:00 AM  

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