The White House War on Whistleblowers
Published on February 27, 2012 by Sara Foss

Last week White House Press Secretary Jay Carney expressed sadness over the death of journalists Marie Colvin and Anthony Shadid overseas, saying they had died "in order to bring truth."

This prompted ABC White House correspondent Jake Tapper to ask how the administration's praise for journalists working in foreign countries squared "with the fact that this administration has been so aggressively trying to stop aggressive journalism in the United States by using the Espionage Act to take whistle-blowers to court?”

It's true. The Obama administration has been prosecuting whitleblowers aggressively - something that Obama indicated he wouldn't do when he was campaigning for office. 

According to David Carr at the New York Times:

"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.

Setting aside the case of Pfc. Bradley Manning, an Army intelligence analyst who is accused of stealing thousands of secret documents, 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."

The Carr column, which you can find here, explains why the Obama's use of the Espionage Act is bothersome. The piece pairs well with this New Yorker article from May about the government's case against Thomas Drake, a former senior executive at the National Security Agency.

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