POLITICS

Obama Transparency Fail: War on Whistleblowers

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney

President Obama promised to be the most transparent administration ever, but that was before he terminated the position of transparency czar, and gave all transparency matters to a partisan Democratic lawyer who is publicly antagonistic to the notion of transparency. Since then, we've had a series of decisions favoring opacity over transparency, with my favorite being his refusal to disclose the nature of the adminsitration's dealings with the drug industry as the two crafted the pharma-friendly health-care bill.

The latest bout in the Opacity of Hope: Obama's War on Whistleblowers. David Carr at the New York Times has the story:

The Espionage Act, enacted back in 1917 to punish those who gave aid to our enemies, was used three times in all the prior administrations to bring cases against government officials accused of providing classified information to the media. It has been used six times since the current president took office....

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.

In the most recent case, John Kiriakou, a former C.I.A. officer who became a Democratic staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was charged under the Espionage Act with leaking information to journalists about other C.I.A. officers, some of whom were involved in the agency’s interrogation program, which included waterboarding.

For those of you keeping score, none of the individuals who engaged in or authorized the waterboarding of terror suspects have been prosecuted, but Mr. Kiriakou is in federal cross hairs, accused of talking to journalists and news organizations, including The New York Times.

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