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Along with the news guild, about 50 news organizations have sent
letters to Attorney General Eric Holder objecting to the subpoenas.

Writing letters of indignation to congress critters has value when the
wave of indignation is massive and the members of Congress are not
simply marionettes whose strings are pulled by the big money forces
that put them there. Sadly, very few members of Congress cast votes in
opposition to the financial interests that put them there. Given
Obama's cynical prosecution of whistle blowers, the worst of any
administration in history, I have zero faith in the federal government
to enforce first amendment rights of US citizens as laid out in the Constitution.

The public's view of journalists is at an all time low, and so there is
likely to be little public sympathy for stopping the administration
from violating first amendment freedoms.

Rather than rely on the good will of government, which changes each
time the wind blows, journalists can take a leaf from the pages of
the newly announced Strongbox at The New Yorker and make it easy for members of the public to tell what they know without fear of being destroyed by federal prosecutors. The Strong Box is an open source gift from the young, talented, and tragically, late Aaron Swartz, who was himself prosecuted by the Obama administration for his activities in support of open source options to the point where Aaron took his own life rather than be labeled a felon -- or serve 35 years in a federal penitentiary.

Here are the details of a way whistle blowers can get documents to a
news outlet without facing prison time. There's no reason why The Strong Box can not be more widely adopted.

When whistle blowers present documents to reporters, honest reporters examine and verify the documents to determine whether there is a story. Sometimes there is no story and it's just an attempt at manipulating public opinion. Other times, it turns out to be valuable.

Originally posted to skywriter on Sat May 18, 2013 at 04:21 PM PDT.

Also republished by SFKossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's sad the way people conflate this story... (9+ / 0-)

    ...with the Benghazi and IRS bullsh*t. Thank you for this post!

    "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 04:35:31 PM PDT

    •  What's really difficult to understand is (10+ / 0-)

      why people would automatically revert to a position of protecting the President; or fall back on arguments that national security trumps all.

      This revelation that the DOJ was investigating more than 100 reporters and editors merits questions and exploration.  

      Maybe in the end we will all basically think that the decisions that were made were justified, but maybe we won't.

      It is really important that we approach this question of national security vs the 1st and 4th Amendments seriously and without partisan bias.  

      Saying, "Wait.  Stop.  Hold the phone." (pardon the pun) given the facts that we have right now is a perfectly legitimate response - and it always was - and it always should be.  The minute The People yield that right, is when when the Constitution becomes null and void.

      If we don't use this democracy, we will lose it.  

      •  As I understand it, ... (5+ / 0-)

        the issue of national security (if there ever truly was one) had passed; the delay in reporting was requested simply in order to allow the administration to announce the news first, prior to the election.  After the AP held off for five more days, waiting while no announcement happened, they went ahead and released the story.  It was THEN that somebody got pissed and the DoJ began to capture the phone records.  It was retaliation, pure and simple; "national security" detection of a "leaker" had nothing whatsoever to do with the information being collected.  And worse, not only were the AP's lines monitored, the congressional cloak rooms' phones were monitored were as well.  

        "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

        by Neuroptimalian on Sat May 18, 2013 at 05:46:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Re: this: (0+ / 0-)
        What's really difficult to understand is why people would automatically revert to a position of protecting the President; or fall back on arguments that national security trumps all.
        The Obama supporters have the same mentality as groupies at a rock concert: they don't care what their idol has done, they just want everyone to leave him alone:

        http://www.youtube.com/...

  •  There is no "press" (4+ / 0-)

    That dies years ago. It's been replaced with mystery media, and websites hungry for clicks instead of real journalism. Fuck'm.

    What is so unnerving about the candidacy of Sarah Palin is the degree to which she represents—and her supporters celebrate—the joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance. SAM HARRIS

    by Cpqemp on Sat May 18, 2013 at 04:40:54 PM PDT

    •  Ridiculous. (7+ / 0-)

      As much as people at this site have spent years berating the media as being totally illegitimate and had loads of fun with that, the news gathering organizations feed every blog, every personal discussion and every political debate because they are professional news gathering organizations.  They gather news.  Some do it better and more honestly than others.  But they are out there doing it which is more than you can say about people on most blogs who have no sources, no reporting skills and no ethical standards.

      I am not a huge fan of the AP - specifically the reporters who cover government and politics who do have a conservative bent - but they go and attend the press conferences, work their stories and report out what they learn.  You and I get to respond to their work, but without their work, we'd be in the dark about a lot of things that go on in our government and around the world.

      •  I'd have to disagree on that. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nupstateny

        They print what they're told people should know, ignore much of what people really need to know, inflate nonsense and propaganda and rarely go below the surface on anything.  

        Bloggers often go to source material, read it, analyze it, question it, look deeper.

        I can't for one second care if AP got it's phone records searched.  The cynic in me wonders if there was anything to find.  If Jon Stewart or Mother Jones were under the microscope I'd be alarmed, but my derision for The Press has undermined my concerns for their rights.  Maybe someday.

        I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

        by I love OCD on Sat May 18, 2013 at 05:41:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "When they came for the press, ... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          skywriter, inclusiveheart, phillies

          it didn't concern me personally, so I did nothing."

          "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

          by Neuroptimalian on Sat May 18, 2013 at 05:49:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  So wrong. This is an attack on sources (5+ / 0-)

          and reporters who are still doing investigative journalism. That includes bloggers.

          look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

          by FishOutofWater on Sat May 18, 2013 at 05:49:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The day that you or anyone like you (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueoasis, phillies

          who would harass and repress people with whom you have political disagreements can decide what is legally acceptable media coverage is the day that the democracy has totally collapsed.  Russia would be a better place for your kind of folks to live if you really mean what you just said.

          •   The day that (0+ / 0-)

            you or anyone like you dismisses my opinion is just another day on Daily Kos, hardly the End of Democracy In America.  

            It's hilarious to read passionate defenses of what was, last week, a pathetic corporate-controlled propaganda machine that has sold us out day after day for 50 years. I guess anything that might hurt Obama is automatically worth defending.  The bad news is too much of the country feels like I do, so yet another crisis bites the dust.  

            Expect some anger from me if there's ever a free press here, until then expect me to laugh at your outrage.

            I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

            by I love OCD on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:08:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You really don't get it do you? (0+ / 0-)

              If the "corporate-owned media" that so threatens you that you would have them snuffed out by a government, then you don't stand a chance at having your own say.  That's the truth and you should think about it.

              Putin would really like your standards - maybe not your politics - but he'd like your standards - and he'd be smart enough to use you until such time as you became unhelpful and then he'd do away with you.  If that's what you want, then go move to Russia, but don't foist that madness on those of us here in this country.

              •  Jesus, another go to Russia snipe? (0+ / 0-)

                This is adult discourse?  Go home you commie was big when I was a kid, not so much anymore.  

                I am smart enough not to depend on the corporate media for anything.  And I'm really stunned that you passionately defend what you know is a corporate propaganda machine in this day and age.  You're on the Internet.  That tells me you should know there are better ways to get information than reading AP or WaPo or watching Fox.  The Press is bullshit.  Worry about Internet freedom, that's the threat to democracy we should give a shit about.

                I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

                by I love OCD on Sun May 19, 2013 at 06:57:19 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You can't defend a free press if you (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JohnnyBoston

                  believe that government should be entrusted to decide what's good and what's bad reporting.

                  Whether you like AP or not is not the Constitutional question at hand and this is where you completely miss the mark in your analysis.  

                  Putin is not a "commie" - he is an authoritarian.  His government harasses and suppress media and all other voices - including internet voices - that they do not like.  Your position on this issue is no different with respect to what you believe the government should be allowed to do to what you call the "corporate-owned" media.  Seems to me that you really need to re-read the First Amendment and probably the Fourth Amendment - and also spend a good, long time reading interpretations of and the history surrounding the First.

                  •  Even in Putin's Russia and China and (0+ / 0-)

                    Iran people are getting information.  This all-powerful government you're so scared of is created by you, and me, and every citizen sitting around wondering why we know so little about what's happening around us.  Give us a free press and we have a chance.  Defend our current system from a phone record subpoena and you're fighting for what?  Kim Kardashian's diet secrets?  The truly true story of BENGHAZI!!!!?  It's a fucking subpoena of phone records, looking for the source of a leak that blew a fairly important sting operation.  Yes, Virginia, there is a really good bomb maker out there who would love to be as famous as OBL.  The way to do it is take out a bunch of airplanes at once.  

                    Unless of course you believe terrorism is a myth and the CT theorists are sane.

                    Send me to Russia or wherever, I still won't believe The Press is our last bastion of freedom.  

                    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

                    by I love OCD on Sun May 19, 2013 at 09:00:31 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It occurs to me you may be too young (0+ / 0-)

                      to understand why I don't give a shit about freedom of the press 2013.  I lived through the Golden Age of the American Press, I know what they can do with sufficient money and solid backing.  The fact that they don't even try, the fact that they don't cover climate change and fake wars and income inequality means they're nothing but toilet paper for my bird cages.  I wouldn't fight for them if every phone call for 2 months was monitored, transcribed, collated, filed, and stamped Horseshit.  

                      I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

                      by I love OCD on Mon May 20, 2013 at 06:24:57 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Yes - please discount my perspective to (0+ / 0-)

                        youth.  What's your first hand experience with what you call the "Golden Age" of the press?

                        Again - you don't get it.  At all.  Not getting it is you.

                        If you do away with the media, which is what you are effectively proposing, your issues will will not ever be covered.

                        Your views are beyond foolish on this front.

      •  Organizations That Have Been Firing Reporters (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        phillies, inclusiveheart

        domestic and foreign by the legions, while consolidating to the point that fewer than half a dozen corps inform about 95% of the electorate.

        There's been a precipitous drop in the quantity of journalistic activity other than attending briefings and collecting news releases for the last 1/3 lifespan.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Sat May 18, 2013 at 08:55:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I can't disagree with you, but that (0+ / 0-)

          does not mean that we should allow the quality of the reporting or whether or not we agree with it to enter into the debate on the question of whether or not the government should have broad powers to investigate reporters and news agencies.

  •  It's not a scandal!!! (8+ / 0-)

    It's a controversy!!!1!!

    Seriously, that's what we're being told here in comments and on the front page.

    It's scary when the first amendment takes a back seat to being loyal to a politician.  This is exactly what the Bush supporters did and we were astounded by it.


    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Sat May 18, 2013 at 04:42:28 PM PDT

    •  you don't understand (0+ / 0-)

      (nor do I)

      Bush was, well first of all, he was Cheney's puppet. And Cheney was a crazed Republican partisan, bent on doing all sorts of illegal stuff to help his war machine cronies.

      President Obama, on the other hand, promised to be President of all the people and some of the people are fascist Constitution haters. Therefore...

  •  I'm confused (0+ / 0-)

    as to whether this is an administration move or an independent move by Holder. Especially with Obama coming out in favor of a shield act. What, he had no say in whether to prosecute whistleblowers either?

  •  Strongbox (4+ / 0-)

    fantastic.
    Wish it wasn't so necessary.

  •  It won't do the slightest bit of good ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock

    where news organizations are in cahoots with the wrong-doers.  I learned this the hard way, over and over again, while trying to expose judicial corruption in Southern California in 2009-2010.  Unless and until the media again becomes independent somehow / someday, it's hard to have much sympathy for them, though I absolutely despise what the DoJ did, and why, on general principles.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

    by Neuroptimalian on Sat May 18, 2013 at 05:05:18 PM PDT

    •  Media are Corporations Constitutionally Exempt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, Neuroptimalian

      from checks, balances and content regulation.

      Corporations have taken over governance.

      When you have corporate media and corporate government, the media ARE government press.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat May 18, 2013 at 08:58:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  America's not buying your ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Quicklund

    ... phony scandals.

    If a person who is allegedly leaking national security information is calling up a reporter on phone, he or she deserves to be caught up. Additionally, any reporter who doesn't have a "throwaway" cellphone deserves to have his or her sources outted.

    I would say it is the media, led by the Associated Press, that is at war with the Obama Administration by perpetuating these lame "scandals." Nice way for them to distract the American people from the Tea Party obstruction and sabotage of government.

    I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

    by Tortmaster on Sat May 18, 2013 at 06:36:21 PM PDT

  •  In fact (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indie17, Quicklund

    It was Congressional Republicans who demanded an investigation of the leak, as detailed in this piece by Dave Weigel.

    For information on why the leak and finding the leader matters, this piece by Jack Shafer is very instructive. Notice Congressman Peter King's name come up in that piece? I wouldn't be at all surprised if he turned out to be the leaker. He's always shooting off his mouth, he's an idiot and a moron, and has leaked classified information before. It may explain as well why the GOP has laid off on this "scandal" leaving it to the knee-jerk liberals to go off half-cocked blaming Obama for the whole thing.

    And while it may be debated whether phone logs of 100 journalists is excessive, keep in mind that Ron "Keep up the good fight, Karl" Fournier was Washington Bureau chief at the time. Ron Fournier, the well-known rightwing hack and GOP lackey who was going to work for McCain until he thought he could serve better with the Associated Press. Remember this vomit inducing spectacle http://crooksandliars.com/...? Sprinkles!

    And by the way, here's a nice piece all about Jonathan Karl, who ran waving around the fabricated BENGHAZIII!!!!!!one! emails.  A Right-Wing Mole at ABC News

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