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The following is the first of a three-part series comprised of selected reports on “…the growing scandal over the Justice Department’s seizure of telephone records from Associated Press editors and reporters. The action came as part of a probe into the leaks behind an AP story about how U.S. intelligence thwarted a Yemen-based al-Qaeda bombing plot on a U.S.-bound airplane.” (Note: Quoted from the Democracy Now! report, below.)

Part I, herein, is a 10-minute interview (and transcript) by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez from Democracy Now! with Pulitzer Prize winner and bestselling author David Cay Johnston, board president of the 4,200-member Investigative Reporters and Editors. As you’ll see by clicking upon THIS LINK, David Cay Johnston is one of the more widely-quoted sources for many of the front-page writers here at Daily Kos.

AP Monitoring Raises Fears of Government Overreach: How Far Will Obama Go to Crack Down on Leaks?
Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez
Democracy Now!
TruthOut.org
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.‘
Friday, 17 May 2013 10:21

AP Monitoring Raises Fears of Government Overreach: How Far Will Obama Go to Crack Down on Leaks?

David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and president of Investigative Reporters and Editors, joins us to discuss the growing scandal over the Justice Department’s seizure of telephone records from Associated Press editors and reporters. The action came as part of a probe into the leaks behind an AP story about how U.S. intelligence thwarted a Yemen-based al-Qaeda bombing plot on a U.S.-bound airplane. "This is a very troubling aspect of this administration — it is hostile to the news media," Johnston says. "They’re behaving much more like a corporation than like the people’s government."

TRANSCRIPT:

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We’re speaking with David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who’s also the current president of Investigative Reporters and Editors. I wanted to ask you about another matter, a big story this week in Washington. The Justice Department has admitted to seizing the work, home and cellphone records of almost 100 Associated Press reporters and editors. The action came as part of a probe into leaks behind an AP story about how U.S. intelligence thwarted a Yemen-based al-Qaeda bombing plot on a U.S.-bound airplane. During testimony before the House on Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder was asked about the probe and why the AP was not notified of the subpoenas beforehand.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER: I was recused in that matter. As I described, I guess, in a press conference that I held yesterday, the decision to issue this subpoena was made by the people who are presently involved in the case. The matter is being supervised by the deputy attorney general. I am not familiar with the reasons why the—why the subpoena was constructed in the way that it was, because I’m simply not a part of the—of the case.

REP. BOB GOODLATTE: It’s my understanding that one of the requirements before compelling process from a media outlet is to give the outlet notice. Do you know why that was not done?

ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER: There are exceptions to that rule. I do not know, however, with regard to this particular case, why that was or was not done. I simply don’t have a factual basis.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Attorney General Eric Holder speaking about the Justice Department’s seizure of the telephone records from AP editors and reporters. David Cay Johnston, you’ve said of the probe that journalists have a duty to watchdog the government and hold it accountable without surveillance or other interference. Talk about the probe and the attorney general’s defense at the hearing.

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Well, one of the important things to keep in mind about this, Amy, is that AP found out about this information, told the government what it had, and as responsible news organizations do, when the government said, "Please, we’re in the middle of an investigation. Hold off," they held their story. Then the White House notified them that the next day it was going to go public about this, basically extending to AP the courtesy, because they had behaved well, of letting them break the story that they had held.

Now, the outrage you’re hearing from some members of Congress that this is something terrible the AP has done—and there are members of Congress saying that—is beyond belief, particularly for people who claim to be concerned about the Constitution, which, after all, includes a First Amendment to protect our religious, free speech, petition, assembly and press rights.

In this case, I don’t think that the attorney general is correct. I don’t think the exceptions apply here. There were no exigent circumstances. This was looking at something after the fact. And, you know, according to the FBI, they did 550 interviews, and they don’t know who the leaker is. That’s officially what they’re looking for: who spoke to the AP. If they don’t know, it suggests that in fact this may well be a story that came through some odd factor. I mean, the world is full of news stories that come about not because somebody issued a press release.

But this is a very troubling sign. The 4,200 members of Investigative Reporters and Editors, that I’m privileged to be the board president for, I’m sure will discuss this next month at our annual meeting in San Antonio, and we are taking steps to try and find out how far this reached and what the government is going to be doing in the future.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, speaking of that, during an interview with NPR on Tuesday, Eric Holder said he did not know how many other times his Justice Department had subpoenaed records of reporters.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER: I’m not sure how many of those cases that I have actually signed off on—I take them very seriously. I know that I have refused to sign a few, pushed a few back for modifications.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, it sounds like if he takes them very seriously, he would remember how many he had actually signed off on. But your comment?

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Well, let me—yeah, Juan, let me suggest, I mean, that he was asked of how many as a number, and I believe they’re going to be giving a written answer back to that. So I’m willing to cut him some slack about that.

But the Obama administration has been very, very troubling about all of these issues. Remember that President Obama in 2008 campaigned on a transparency and openness in government. I wrote a piece—I think I’m the first national journalist who wrote a highly critical piece of President Obama, nine days after he took office, about the simple matter of calling the White House press office. And I’ve been calling White House press offices back to Nixon. And I just asked the first person who answered the phone, you know, "What’s your name?" And immediately it was: "What do you want that for?" And I literally had people hang up. They wouldn’t say who they were. I mean, you don’t know if you’re talking to a secretary, an intern or a press secretary, or somebody who walked by and picked up a telephone.

And since then, I and many other journalists have observed that this administration, despite its public rhetoric, has repeatedly and continually been very difficult to deal with. I rate them worse than the Bush administration. And every single story that I wrote at The New York Times, with one exception, had Bush people on the record by name, rank and serial number. So, this is a very troubling aspect of this administration. It is hostile to the news media. It seems to have an attitude that if they don’t like the question, they don’t have to answer it. And it makes it very difficult and cumbersome to get responses from there. They’re be having much more like a corporation than like the people’s government.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain what the press shield law is? The Obama administration asked, apparently, Senator Schumer yesterday to reintroduce legislation that would help reporters protect the identity of their sources from federal officials. This is rather ironic that the Obama administration is calling for this law. But explain it.

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Well, the idea here is that reporters should be exempted from having to both identify sources that they have to the government as well as from the kind of surveillance that went on with the AP after the fact. I don’t think there’s any chance we’re going to get a surveillance law passed by this Congress, by the way; I think it’s absolutely zero.

But historically, governments—the American administrations have treated the press, certainly in the modern era, the last hundred years, with some deference about these matters; and at the same time, they have sometimes been very tough. Let’s remember that Bill Keller, the editor of The New York Times, was summoned to the White House office and literally threatened with the death penalty over investigative work The New York Times has done. At the same time, President Kennedy said the biggest thing he regretted, or one of the biggest things he regretted, was that he had gotten The New York Times to hold off on a story that it was going to run dealing with the Bay of Pigs.

Many of the things we need to know come from leakers and what the press reports the government doesn’t want to know. The government leaks every day anything it wants out. It’s what administrations don’t want to get out that we need to focus on. And if we want to be a free people, we need to have a robust press, and we need to have a press that’s aggressive, that doesn’t let officials work from press releases and canned statements, and doesn’t let them get away with not answering questions. We need to have a much more aggressive press corps, the kind of press corps that we had in the past, but certainly, I don’t think, have now.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: But also, this hundred—getting records on a hundred reporters and editors, I mean, that’s obviously a situation where they got much more than they—even if they were trying to find a particular leaker, they got much more information. And I would think that would send a pall throughout anybody who’s dealing with the AP or anyone else who is providing information to an AP reporter.

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Yeah, the chilling effect here of this—this is a massive fishing expedition, and I don’t mean with a—with a line. This was a huge seine they put out trying to draw in everything—home records of reporters. Now, they didn’t record the calls; they just got records of calls, looking for whoever was leaking. But that’s the exact problem: It’s not that the AP reporters are intimidated; it’s that sources won’t come to people, and the government can operate as a power unto itself. We created our government, in this, the Second American Republic, to serve the people. We begin our Constitution with those words: "We the people." And we need to make sure that the government never, ever, ever is run by people who think it is a power unto itself.

Now, that doesn’t mean that the government has to be powerless and that there aren’t exigent circumstances. You know, if the government thinks that someone is about to expose something that will cause real physical harm, I would be right up front saying, "OK, make them delay, if need be, for public safety." But this has got to be very carefully looked at and watched at on a case-by-case basis, what the lawyers call facts and circumstances.

AMY GOODMAN: What’s interesting about the Obama administration asking Chuck Schumer to reintroduce the bill is, looking at The New York Times in 2009, Chuck Schumer is quoted as saying, "The White House’s opposition to the fundamental essence of this bill is an unexpected and significant setback. It will make it hard to pass this legislation." Final comment, David Cay Johnston?

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Well, I think, though, that you’re seeing this administration trying to respond to all the criticisms it’s getting. Remember, 10 days after the president took office, the Republicans on Capitol had a meeting, and they said that—came out of it, and there have been accounts written of this, that their purpose was going to make sure this president didn’t succeed. You’re now seeing the president apparently recognize that he is under this tremendous pressure by people who don’t care about the welfare of the government as much as they do—in the people, as much as they do destroying him. So, you’re seeing some shifts in position. They’re good shifts. I’m glad we’re having them. But I don’t—cannot imagine that this Congress, particularly the House, is going to pass legislation to protect the news media, even though the news media is a broad range of groups, from the far right to far left, to absolutely straight news in the middle. The hostility to news by members of Congress, on both sides, but particularly right-wing Republicans—it’s just not going to happen.

AMY GOODMAN: David Cay Johnston, I want to thank you for being with us, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, writes about tax issues, president of the Investigative Reporters and Editors, former New York Times reporter, author of a number of books, including The Fine Print: How Big Companies Use "Plain English" to Rob You Blind. Special thanks to Rochester’s PBS station WXXI, where David was speaking to us from. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. Back in a minute.

This work by Truthout is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.‘

Originally posted to http://www.dailykos.com/user/bobswern on Sat May 18, 2013 at 01:05 AM PDT.

Also republished by Whistleblowers Round Table.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Worse than the Bush administration? (12+ / 0-)
    I and many other journalists have observed that this administration, despite its public rhetoric, has repeatedly and continually been very difficult to deal with. I rate them worse than the Bush administration.
    But...but during his campaigns Obama promised us transparency, and to protect our constitutional rights.  GITMO has been closed....hasn't it???  Whistleblowers have more protections now ... don't they?

    Oh, never mind.  

    It has always seemed strange to me...The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. - John Steinbeck, Cannery Row

    by ovals49 on Sat May 18, 2013 at 01:54:21 AM PDT

  •  Seems like I recall (9+ / 0-)

    a time when the media was absolutely in love with Obama.

    A far cry from this, it seems:

    And since then, I and many other journalists have observed that this administration, despite its public rhetoric, has repeatedly and continually been very difficult to deal with. I rate them worse than the Bush administration.  [...] So, this is a very troubling aspect of this administration. It is hostile to the news media. It seems to have an attitude that if they don’t like the question, they don’t have to answer it. And it makes it very difficult and cumbersome to get responses from there. They’re be having much more like a corporation than like the people’s government.
    Apparantly the feeling wasn't mutual.




    Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
    ~ Jerry Garcia

    by DeadHead on Sat May 18, 2013 at 02:08:56 AM PDT

    •  Part II of this series... (12+ / 0-)

      ...contains some interesting response from the media, as well (to say the least)...and the response from the White House regarding reinstating the Shield Law (effort), when you drill down on the details of what that really means (per Part III of this series), tells us that it's really not much of a "solution" (and, in fact, in many ways it could make a bad situation worse, as you'll soon read it, once I publish it) despite spin here and elsewhere to the contrary.

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Sat May 18, 2013 at 02:15:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Originally, I thought Obama would (7+ / 0-)

        survive the 'IRS scandal' with ease, but the latest Huffington Post article re: the who-knew-what-and-when reminds me of the onset of the Watergate investigation...

        ...if that story leads to something more ominous, and if  the AP story is pursued with dogged determination, Obama's second term could be as stormy as Nixon's.

        Mike Lux made an interesting observation several days ago -- after these two stories broke: Obama is going to need his base fired up and united in his defense, but that's not going to happen if he pushes through the Chained CPI...and I would add he's going to lose support and create a shit-storm if he approves the Keystone XL pipeline, so he could be in trouble early on if he doesn't change direction on those two issues.

        Add in the problems caused by his involvement in the sequestration and how he has helped restore funding to the military and funding for the furloughed air traffic controllers while offering no defense for social safety net programs, the new revelation that the government, under his direction, has made $50 billion off student loans, the possible collapse of ACA, and the continuing expansion of the income gap, he could be in real trouble soon...and so could the Democratic Party.

        •  Ok, I must be missing something here... (4+ / 0-)

          I'm not dismissing your concerns; I share some of them as far as the president's political agenda henceforth. But where's the wrongdoing on the part of the White House? They learned of the investigation in June of 2012, per the HuffPo article:

          At one point in the day's hearing, Treasury IG George said he had told the department's general counsel about his investigation on June 4, 2012, and Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin "shortly thereafter." But, George cautioned, those discussions were "not to inform them of the results of the audit. It was to inform them of the fact that we were conducting the audit."
          But didn't learn of the results until March of this year, again, per the article:
          The Treasury Department issued a statement Friday saying officials first became aware of the actual results of the investigation in March of this year, when they were provided a draft of George's report, a standard practice.
          The White House had no reason to publicize the fact that they were informed about the investigation, as far as I can tell.

          At this point, I don't see any legal culpability on the part of the White House.

          I do share your concerns about the agenda though. But I'm not worried about Obama going down for this -- or any of the other so-called 'scandals' -- winding through D.C. right now.

          "Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone" - John Maynard Keynes

          by markthshark on Sat May 18, 2013 at 03:43:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, I think you misinterpreted this: (0+ / 0-)
            ...if that story leads to something more ominous, and if the AP story is pursued with dogged determination,
            I remember very vividly how Watergate began...in the beginning it seemed rather innocuous -- just like these stories, but there was too much corruption lying beneath the surface for it to disappear, and eventually the truth was revealed a drop at a time...

            The Republicans are too corrupt to pass up any opportunity to shut down the Democratic agenda...and since almost everything you touch in D.C. has an element of corruption beneath the surface, a lot will depend on the type of threads they weave together to make their case...

            Time will tell.

            •  I don't think I misinterpreted at all... (0+ / 0-)

              I just don't see the underlying corruption in the Obama administration.

              They're guilty of a lot of things: giving in to the Republicans; fighting for Wall Street more often than Main Street; seemingly ignoring pressing concerns like climate change, and others. But inter-administration corruption or law breaking?

              I just don't see it.

              Remember, if the system is rigged, there's no need to break the law.

              "Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone" - John Maynard Keynes

              by markthshark on Sun May 19, 2013 at 12:38:33 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  The solution lies within Congress... (7+ / 0-)

        I don't quite understand all the anger and righteous indignation directed towards the DoD over the AP phone records -- legitimate or otherwise. As far as I know, Holder's been following the laws... as they were written.

        The real scandal is over Congress's failure to repeal or at least modify extensively laws like the NDAA and the Patriot Act. Those are the freakin' laws facilitating these egregious constitutional violations.

        We need to wake up and pressure Congress to get rid of these [democracy-killing] laws. Until we do, no 'shield law' or the Bill of Rights itself, for that matter, is going to protect our civil rights and liberties.

        I will not donate to or support in any way any candidate next year who won't promise to work to restore our Constitution.

        Thanks for the diary, Bob.

        "Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone" - John Maynard Keynes

        by markthshark on Sat May 18, 2013 at 03:17:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Until we learn otherwise, and after filtering... (3+ / 0-)

          ...out the political bullshit, I see very little credibility in the IRS matter. And, as far as I'm concerned, the Benghazi issue is a non-issue at this point. Frankly, anything the GOPer asshats are doing to keep that alive, at this point, is beyond just being political bullshit. It's shameful.

          All of the above being said, I am--and have always been, historically so, with some substantial stories in the MSM about things I've done in my career to back this up, too--a very strong advocate for press freedom. And, this particular matter covered in my posts, today, is an exceptionally important and quite real matter that is now in front of us, IMHO.

          For any "pragmatic" Democrat to be giving this story short shrift is just bad news, if from no other vantage point than the mere political/strategic implications of it. This isn't going away. And, those that attempt to spin it in such a manner (including far too many around here, IMHO) are just playing bad poker.

          "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

          by bobswern on Sat May 18, 2013 at 11:01:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I understand that. And I respect real journalism.. (0+ / 0-)

            But we should be outraged by the laws making this kind of behavior by the DoD legal.

            Congress needs to repeal these laws. They have no business in a democracy -- even in a sorry excuse for a democracy like ours.

            "Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone" - John Maynard Keynes

            by markthshark on Sun May 19, 2013 at 12:28:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Crocodile tears (9+ / 0-)

    I'm a huge David Cay Johnston fan going back to his Los Angeles Times days. But please. Worse than Bush?

    1) It was Republicans in Congress who demanded an investigation into this leak. (see here)

    2) The DoJ went through the FISA court to obtain a subpoena for AP phone records as provided by law

    3) after pursuing other means of trying to determine the identity of the government official(s) who leaked this story via 500 interviews before going through due process under the law to obtain these records.

    4) The story in question can not in any conceivable way be characterized as a whistleblowing story. What possible motivation did the leaker have in disclosing this very sensitive and dangerous information? It wasn't to disclose any kind of wrongdoing, but ...what? Why would a leaker disclose a very secret operation to stop an attempted terrorist attack in progress? This was, of course, during the presidential campaign. I'm willing to bet that the leaker was a Republican either in Congress or an embedded bushie.

    Further, I would like to know where in holy hell the AP and the entire press corps was when George W Bush actually wiretapped journalists (like James Risen) without a warrant. see here  When the bushies were using the Patriot Act to put actual journalists under surveillance. Where the hell was all this heavy breathing when the Congress was passing the Protect America Act which authorized secret wiretapping of American citizens, including journalists?

    I'll tell you where Mr. Johnston and his colleagues were. Nowhere.  No interest. Big yawn. Not newsworthy. Old news. No handwringing. No pearl clutching. Nothing. Complete silence.

    So the AP and the beltway press don't have a lot of credibility here, with their hysterical and deeply misleading coverage they can't even report the facts correctly. Instead they have been running around waving the "wiretapping" and GASP! "spying on journalists!!"  flag, further damaging their case every day. They were nowhere to be found when it really counted. Fuck them.

    •  I have my suspicions as well... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cat, Quicklund
      I'm willing to bet that the leaker was a Republican either in Congress or an embedded bushie.
      Perhaps a certain congressman who happens to chair the [House] Intelligence Committee?

      Isn't that the same committee that former rep. Pete Hoekstra was the ranking member of? He's a well-known leaker.

      Rogers was his understudy. And he's also from Michigan. lol

      Just sayin'

      "Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone" - John Maynard Keynes

      by markthshark on Sat May 18, 2013 at 04:02:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  like a sieve (3+ / 0-)

        Yes, a number of Republicans are leakers and fabricators, both Congressmen and at the staff level.

        And let us not forget that Ron "keep up the good fight, Karl" "sprinkles, Senator McCain" Fournier, the long time rightwing mole and Clinton antagonist, happened to be AP bureau chief at that time. So he has a ongoing, very close collaboration -- I would call it collusion -- with Republicans all over the beltway. Did he receive the leak? I'd like to know.

        Mr. Johnston here, for whom I have a great deal of respect and who has long been one of the few good guys in the utterly corrupt and damaged American mainstream press, is doing his better colleagues a disservice by jumping in on this without sufficient knowledge.

  •  Leaving aside right or wrong, (5+ / 0-)

    I'm most troubled by the scope of the subpoena. It was far too broad. IMO. Too many reporter's call logs were scooped up simply because of their proximity and, though it hasn't been mentioned, I'll be surprised if they didn't obtain email records too. If I was one of their contacts, even on an unrelated story, I'd be concerned.

    And a shield law is going to be worthless unless the national security exception is clearly defined and narrow in scope. My guess is that it will be neither. It's a gray area ripe for abuse by an overzealous prosecutor in search of prey.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Sat May 18, 2013 at 03:19:46 AM PDT

    •  We've passed that point (5+ / 0-)

      haven't we? I just assume everything we do is recorded and stored somewhere. The only saving grace is that the sheer mass of it slows whatever bad actors might want to do.

      It can always be blamed on some lower echelon upstart and they can be disappeared or ruined with a flip of the switch.

      What gets me is that all of these scandals are about things Republicans are completely down with, the surveillance state, political pressure through closer examination via the IRS inter alia, and the ever increasing instigation and manipulation in other countries. They love this stuff. They act all offended, and I mean act. They can't wait to get them some of that.

  •  Interesting stuff (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Quicklund, Barton Funk

    Looking forward to the next installments.

    Re: reintroducing Schumer's bill. It may put some congress critters in an awkward position. Difficult to criticize the DoJ's actions while at the same time opposing legislative safeguards for the press.

    Nothing human is alien to me.

    by WB Reeves on Sat May 18, 2013 at 03:20:49 AM PDT

  •  Growing Scandal? (4+ / 0-)

    Seems the only place it is growing is in the FAUX News writer's room and Peggy Noonan's imagination.

    •  That's right. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Barton Funk

      And if these three events happened the very same way while George W.  Bush was president, no liberals or progressives or people here at DKos would have ever said a word about it.

      That's right, no scandal here, just like it wouldn't have been a scandal if George W. Bush was in office.  

      Nothing to see here.  Let's just move on.

      •  Way to buy into the GOP rhetoric (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        virginislandsguy

        The GOP says it is a scandal, so therefore it is.  So much for caveat emptor.

        How about the word "controversy" instead of scandal?

        •  Like I said, had it happened under Bush, no (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Barton Funk, BradyB

          liberal or progressive or anyone at DKos would have ever, not ever called it a scandal.  I'm positive.

          •  May be so but (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Quicklund

            what has that got to do with the merits of the case? Is this about legitimate concerns over the actions of the DoJ? Or is it just an opportunity to bash folks for presumed hypocrisy?

            If the latter, I'll take a pass.

            Nothing human is alien to me.

            by WB Reeves on Sat May 18, 2013 at 09:04:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  There is no "presumed" hypocrisy. (0+ / 0-)

              Hypocrisy is a fact in this matter.  And I'm pretty damn sick of it.

              Show me where I'm wrong that no Democrat would have called this a scandal had Bush encountered the exact same events.  Tell me that there would be no front page stories or diaries reciting how Bush was wrong, how this was, indeed, a scandal, actually three of them.

              That's my point.  Follow the thread, I suggest.  

              •  A speculative opinion isn't a fact. (0+ / 0-)

                It doesn't matter what the odds favoring the speculation are.

                You're arguing about hypothetical hypocrisy over a hypothetical scandal in a hypothetical alternate scenario. You're choosing to do this rather than discussing the issues material to the actual situation.

                That remains a fact, regardless of how much you may insist otherwise, in this thread or any other.

                Nothing human is alien to me.

                by WB Reeves on Sun May 19, 2013 at 01:53:43 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Do you live in a cave? Apparently, so. (3+ / 0-)

      Send us a postcard from the Isle of Denial...

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Sat May 18, 2013 at 08:59:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bob, this isn't an argument, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        virginislandsguy

        it's just a jibe.

        Nothing human is alien to me.

        by WB Reeves on Sat May 18, 2013 at 09:07:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Are you talking about my comment? Or... (4+ / 0-)

          ...the comment to which I'm responding--which IS a jibe--which is from a Kossack that's been regularly trolling and and h.r.'ing my posts and comments in this community for many years? (We're talking an easy 100-200 comments like this, with this being one of the nicer ones--with almost as many h.r.'s from this Kossack--in my posts, memorialized for the entire community to see.) In other words, I'm responding to an absurdly inaccurate comment. And, Part II of this post, coming up in a few moments, responds to this statement better than anything I ever could fit in a comment here.

          "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

          by bobswern on Sat May 18, 2013 at 10:05:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Questions of accuracy aside (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bobswern

            If you think he's trolling, why are you playing into his game by responding in kind?

            I'm aware that there's a lot of bad blood here but it hardly matters to those concerned about substantive issues. Replying to perceived sniping with further sniping just forwards distraction and diversion.

            Nothing human is alien to me.

            by WB Reeves on Sat May 18, 2013 at 10:29:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Generally speaking, I really DO make an attempt... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              WB Reeves

              ...to try to avoid comments like this. So, you're right. Period. Full stop!  :-)

              "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

              by bobswern on Sat May 18, 2013 at 10:36:41 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  It's an observation (0+ / 0-)

          That "growing scandal" is perhaps not an accurate way to describe a news event which seems to be ebbing in the public eye and which has not caused any loss of public confidence.

      •  How about the word "controversy" (0+ / 0-)

        instead of "scandal". Then I have no gripe.

  •  The AP scandal is straightforward, and wrong (7+ / 0-)

    the question of the general relationship between the government and the press is much more complex, with ill-doing on both sides. Nothing there that excuses this kind of bad behavior on the part of the Administration, I'm not saying that. But the MSM needs to look in the mirror too. It's no use them pretending they're Ed Murrow, or even Walter Cronkite.

    "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat May 18, 2013 at 07:41:36 AM PDT

  •  This is interesting. I look forward to reading (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Barton Funk, bobswern

    the next two parts.

  •  Glenn Greenwald (5+ / 0-)

    had this tidbit at the end of yesterday's column:

    On a related note: when Attorney General Eric Holder spoke about the DOJ's subpoeans for AP's phone records - purportedly issued in order to find the source for AP's story about a successfully thwarted terror attack from Yemen - he made this claim about the leak they were investigating: "if not the most serious, it is within the top two or three most serious leaks that I have ever seen." But yesterday, the Washington Post reported that CIA officials gave the go-ahead to AP to report the story, based in part on the fact that the administration itself planned to make a formal announcement boasting of their success in thwarting the plot. Meanwhile, the invaluable Marcy Wheeler today makes a strong case that the Obama administration engaged in a fear-mongering campaign over this plot that they knew at the time was false - all for the purpose of justifying the president's newly announced "signature drone strikes" in Yemen.
    They called this a "serious leak" even though the information wasn't made public until the administration was ready????
    •  I think (0+ / 0-)

      the seriousness of the leak is supposed to lie in the fact that the info was out there at all. Once it was, the government was confronted by an accomplished fact. It then became a question of damage control. They couldn't order the AP not to publish, they could only request a delay.

      From the DoJ's perspective, the delay hasn't anything to do with the significance of the initial breech of security.

      Nothing human is alien to me.

      by WB Reeves on Sat May 18, 2013 at 10:10:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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