Last April, the DOJ served a subpoena on New York Times reporter James Risen, demanding to know his source for a story he published in his 2006 book regarding a “reckless” and horribly botched CIA effort to infiltrate Iran’s nuclear program. That subpoena had originally been served but was then abandoned by the Bush DOJ, but its revitalization by the Obama administration was but one of many steps taken to dramatically expand the war on whistleblowers being waged by the current President, who ran on a platform of “protecting whistleblowers”:
Those pretty words have given way to the most aggressive crusade to expose, punish and silence “courageous and patriotic” whistleblowers by any President in decades. As the Federation of American Scientists’ Steven Aftergood put it, “They’re going after this at every opportunity and with unmatched vigor.” And last May, The New York Times described how “the Obama administration is proving more aggressive than the Bush administration in seeking to punish unauthorized leaks.” This war has entailed multiple indictments and prosecutions of Bush-era leaks which exposed various degrees of corruption, ineptitude and illegality. And, of course, the Obama administration’s preoccupation with destroying WikiLeaks — which has led it to boast of efforts to prosecute the group for publishing classified information (which other media outlets do every day), target WikiLeaks supporters with invasive harassment, and even subpoena the Twitter accounts of several WikiLeaks associates, including a sitting member of the Icelandic Parliament — has been well-documented.
But it’s the DOJ’s increasing willingness to target journalists as part of this crusade that has now escalated its seriousness. Last month, the DOJ claimed it had found and arrested Risen’s source: Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA agent who left the agency in 2002 (he now works in the health insurance industry). As part of Sterling’s criminal proceedings, it was revealed yesterday that federal investigators had secretly obtained Risen’s bank records, information about his phone and travel activities, and even credit reports to unearth his source:
Debunking the Department of Justice, 3-part series
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