The Obama Administration has been undermining freedom of the press by pursuing Associated Press journalist’s records to uncover their sources of leaks. The FBI conducted 550 interviews of officials and seized the phone records of Associated Press journalists in a single investigation. The FBI also asked for phone and email logs showing exchanges with a New York Times reporter in another investigation. And Fox News was also investigated to discover who was in contact with one of its reporters in another leak investigation. Some emails suggest that the new CIA director, Jesuit-trained John Brennan is responsible for the “witch hunt” for leakers.
The Obama administration has been very aggressive in casting a wide legal net in its investigations on disclosures of government secrets. While the president expressed concern that leak investigations chill journalists’ ability to hold the government accountable, he made no apology for the scrutiny of the many officials who were questioned or whose records were searched.
While some leaks may have compromised intelligence operations and strained foreign alliances, government officials feel like they are under siege and are now declining to take calls from certain reporters for fear of an investigation.
Investigations can be very damaging and intimidating so that an official thinks twice before providing information. Though no reporter has been prosecuted for publishing classified information, and Congress has forbidden searching journalists’ work product materials unless the reporter has committed a crime, the Justice Department can obtain journalist’s emails and phone records, etc., by alleging that the reporter violates the Espionage Act by seeking secrets to report. Justice uses the information to go after the leakers within the government creating a chill on the sources of information.
The government is increasingly willing to confiscate the records of journalists in the hunt for leakers. There is no legal reporter-client privilege like you have with attorneys. Reporter’s communications are now fair game.
Every principle of the U.S. Constitution is being undermined. Eventually the United States will “repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government.” Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, Page 451