NY Times: Obama Admin Cast Wide Net In Leaker Cases

How big a net? This big

(NY Times) Even before the F.B.I. conducted 550 interviews of officials and seized the phone records of Associated Press reporters in a leak investigation connected to a 2012 article about a Yemen bomb plot, agents had sought the same reporters’ sources for two other articles about terrorism.

In a separate case last year, F.B.I. agents asked the White House, the Defense Department and intelligence agencies for phone and e-mail logs showing exchanges with a New York Times reporter writing about computer attacks on Iran. Agents grilled officials about their contacts with him, two people familiar with the investigation said.

And agents tracing the leak of a highly classified C.I.A. report on North Korea to a Fox News reporter pulled electronic archives showing which officials had gained access to the report and had contact with the reporter on the day of the leak.

The emerging details of these and other cases show just how wide a net the Obama administration has cast in its investigations into disclosures of government secrets, querying hundreds of officials across the federal government and even some of their foreign counterparts.

So there’s a new revelation, that they went after a NY Times reporter. And these are only the ones we know about. Interestingly, there are no searches (that we know about) involving those who leaked material that makes the Obama admin look good, such as with the Osama Bin Laden raid.

Some officials are now declining to take calls from certain reporters, concerned that any contact may lead to investigation. Some complain of being taken from their offices to endure uncomfortable questioning. And the government officials typically must pay for lawyers themselves, unlike reporters for large news organizations whose companies provide legal representation.

What all this does is create a chill on media contact. Government employees will clam up even when there is no threat. And it will make the Press worried that The Government will come after them if they publish a story. This is intimidation. Let’s not forget how the Obama admin treats many reporters which are critical and publish unflattering stories. Sharyl Attkinson is the poster child for how the Obama admin abuses reporters. The O admin is saying “toe the line, do what we tell you, or we’re coming after you”, which may not violate the letter of the 1st Amendment, but surely violates the spirit.

The question for The Press now is “do you continue to act mostly like little lapdogs, or do you all refuse to be intimidated and finally decide to do you job in keeping government honest?”

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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