The New York Times reports today on White House Press Secretary Jay Carney's dodge ball non-response to ABC's Jake Tapper on the hypocrisy of promoting an aggressive free press abroad while criminally prosecuting a record number of "leakers" a.k.a. sources a.k.a. whistleblowers in the U.S. under the Espionage Act, a World War I era law intended to go after spies, not whistleblowers. (I blogged about the exchange on Friday). The Times notes something important I've been saying all along, but that the MSM has been slow to recognize:
. . . the majority of the recent prosecutions seem to have everything to do with administrative secrecy and very little to do with national security.
In case after case, the Espionage Act has been deployed as a kind of ad hoc Official Secrets Act, which is not a law that has ever found traction in America, a place where the people’s right to know is viewed as superseding the government’s right to hide its business.
Tapper deserves credit for pushing the White House on the glaring hypocrisy of the self-proclaimed "most transparent administration in history" using the Espionage Act to criminally prosecute whistleblowers. The larger implications were not lost on the Times, which specifically referenced the now-failed Espionage Act case against my client, National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Thomas Drake:
These kinds of prosecutions can have ripples well beyond the immediate proceedings. Two reporters in Washington who work on national security issues said that the rulings had created a chilly environment between journalists and people who work at the various government agencies.
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- The Danger of Labeling Whistleblowers "Spies"
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- Radack, Drake Win Sam Adams Award
- Secrecy Shenanigans Continue Despite Collapse of Case Against Drake
- This Halloween 'Haunt the House' for Super Committee Transparency
- Peter Van Buren Gets Favorite Whistleblower Retaliation Career-Ender: Pulling Security Clearances