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(Guardian)   President Obama's assault on the First Amendment continues   (theguardian.com) divider line 25
    More: Obvious, Obama administration, 1st amendment, shield laws, press freedom, First Amendment Center, Espionage Act, duty of care  
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5435 clicks; posted to Politics » on 12 Aug 2013 at 11:32 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-08-12 10:14:31 AM
5 votes:
This is a very important concern, but would it have killed the columnist's message to even briefly explain the basis for the ruling against James Risen invoking reporter's privilege?  That is a fairly significant piece of the story!
2013-08-12 11:36:14 AM
3 votes:
To be clear: he is risking jail for not testifying, not what he has written. He is doing so, supposedly to protect a source, who has been indicted for leaking classified information. Admirable as it may sound, let's not conflate being held in contempt of court for refusing to testify is NOT prosecution for what he has written. It's not the act of writing that has gotten him into a position, but his own actions in regard to a trial and testifying at said trail. He indeed may lose his freedom, but if he does, that's on his own head, and sticking to your principles does sort of have a factor of risk involved. It is an entirely voluntary sort of risk, and an entirely avoidable set of jail time, but he has vowed to not give away his confidential sources, and more power to him for that, but let us not pretend that he is being hounded unmercifully, when he has a very easy out.

Will he risk his good name and reputation? That remains to be seen, but these ARE the risks that investigative journalists take on. He is looking for privilege, and in this case, it has been denied, in regards to national security. You can thank more than just Obama on this particular scene though, since the press has been pretty much rolling over and begging for tummy rubs since 9/11, and while Obama continuing policy to go after those who leak classified material troubles some, it wasn't so much the case when it was Bush simply freezing the press out entirely.

Folks handed the government a LOT of power when it drafted US PATRIOT, and NOW the shoe is on the other foot as a President that folks aren't happy with is using said powers, and reaching back even further into precedent to go after leaks. Perhaps we might want to point fingers a bit at Congress as well as at the DoJ while we're at it. Just a thought.
2013-08-12 01:57:01 PM
2 votes:

imontheinternet: LasersHurt: And no, again, he didn't "reverse his position" on the issue. Many NEW whistleblower protections still exist, he just took issue with that one particular thing (for whatever reason). Unless you mean he "reversed his position" on specifically that one issue, in which case you need to SAY that instead of saying he reversed his position on whistleblowing altogether.

He's chasing whistleblowers all over the world and compromising our relations with Russia to make a point that he wants to prosecute a whistleblower.  He's throwing reporters in jail.  How are you possibly arguing that he's pro-whistleblower?

LasersHurt: Are you not capable of reading? It's not a Bush Policy. It well predates Bush.

Are you not capable of understanding that it's a policy handed down from his predecessor that he's continuing at the detriment of his legacy?


I get what you are saying, but there are a few separate issues here.

1.  Is it fair to blame the administration for the DOJ stating that reporters do not have privilege in regards to revealing their sources.  No, that is settled law decided by the Supreme Court, haranguing the DOJ for enforcing it is silly.

2.  Is it fair to blame the administration for not doing enough to promote new laws to deal with reporters privilege and whistleblower protection?  Yes, this is an issue Obama campaigned on and so far his response has been pretty weak tea.

3.  Are the Presidnets opponents better on this issue then the president?  Clearly no, as the majority leader in Congress has stated that even Obama's modest proposal last Friday may be going to far.

4.  Can I not like this policy and others by the President (eg, drones) and still support him and his party?  Obviously yes, no party is exactly going to reflect my belief system and I choose to support the party that best reflects my ideology.  That doesn't make me a shill, that makes me an adult who understands I am never going to get 100% of what I want.  If I did right now Christina Hendricks would be under my desk.
2013-08-12 12:01:43 PM
2 votes:

tenpoundsofcheese: I am the libbiest lib who has ever been a liberal and even I think that this is going to far.
It isn't just an attack on the First Amendment, it is an attack on Journalism (with a capital "J").


Awww, did someone forget he was logged into his troll account?
2013-08-12 10:34:10 AM
2 votes:
How is this new?

Reporter Held in Contempt in Anthrax Case
New York Times reporter jailed

There is no privilege to keep your sources secret. You don't tell the court, you go to jail. It's been that way for quite a while. There's even a handy list going back to 1984.
2013-08-12 10:25:24 AM
2 votes:

vpb: I don't have a problem with prosecuting leakers, but it might be a bit much to go after the reporter who receives the leak.  There are laws to protect actual whistle blowers (as opposed to leakers) so it makes sense to have something similar for reporters.


There's this little thing we call the "First Amendment to the Constitution".
2013-08-12 03:24:49 PM
1 votes:

vygramul: chrismurphy:Gets you fired, usually.

That's why there are usually formal channels outside the immediate chain of command.


Well except in the Snowden case everyone in that chain of command up to the president has defended the government keeping secrets. And once ratted out, they're all slowly starting to come around, in one form or another, and admit changes are needed (while being vague and circumspect on the details of such changes). Changes are needed is the whole premise of blowing the whistle in the first place.
2013-08-12 02:02:31 PM
1 votes:

imontheinternet: He's chasing whistleblowers all over the world and compromising our relations with Russia to make a point that he wants to prosecute a whistleblower. He's throwing reporters in jail. How are you possibly arguing that he's pro-whistleblower?


There's a process for whistleblowers that has indeed been strengthened under Obama. Obama never made any promise to extend legal protections to people who leak classified information.

Even if you're personally of the opinion that Snowden's a "whistleblower", you've got to at least understand that the issue here isn't that Obama made some promise to go easy on people like Snowden and failed to keep it - it's that Obama never considered people like this to be "whistleblowers" to begin with.
2013-08-12 01:57:11 PM
1 votes:

imontheinternet: LasersHurt: And no, again, he didn't "reverse his position" on the issue. Many NEW whistleblower protections still exist, he just took issue with that one particular thing (for whatever reason). Unless you mean he "reversed his position" on specifically that one issue, in which case you need to SAY that instead of saying he reversed his position on whistleblowing altogether.

He's chasing whistleblowers all over the world and compromising our relations with Russia to make a point that he wants to prosecute a whistleblower.  He's throwing reporters in jail.  How are you possibly arguing that he's pro-whistleblower?

LasersHurt: Are you not capable of reading? It's not a Bush Policy. It well predates Bush.

Are you not capable of understanding that it's a policy handed down from his predecessor that he's continuing at the detriment of his legacy?


1.  Snowden is not a whistleblower.  No matter how much you want to dress him up in that costume he is not.

2.  The Obama administration is not holding journalists in jail.  Journalists who go to jail for refusing to testify are being put there by the courts for being in contempt of court.
2013-08-12 01:42:35 PM
1 votes:

sprgrss: amiable: imontheinternet:

... and money is speech and corporations are people.  Courts get things wrong.  The freedom of the press is one of the key provisions of the First Amendment.

I think the incorporation of the Second amendment as a fundamental right was wrong.  Even though I disagree with the decision I understand that once the Supreme Court rules on it, that's the law of the land, like it or lump it.  I don't yell at the administration about it, I understand that to change it will require an act of the law making body, Congress.

Why is incorporation of the 2nd Amendment wrong, whilst incorporation of elements of the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th  Amendments are not wrong?


I would argue that the language of the constitution and the framers original intent did not envision the right to bear arms as an individual right, but rather as part of maintaining well-regulated militias.  But I understand that I have lost that argument.
2013-08-12 01:41:11 PM
1 votes:

imontheinternet: LasersHurt: I fail to see how rejecting one specific thing is "reversing" his position when other protections he's passed remain, but okay.

I like how you completely ignore that the Administration has admittedly reversed its position on this issue.

LasersHurt: As far as the second part, read this thread. Look at history. Duh. That's not getting into good or bad, but its nothing new or unusual.

My point is that continuing Bush policies will be the worst part of Obama's legacy.  Your counter is that this was a Bush policy that Obama is continuing.


Are you not capable of reading? It's not a Bush Policy. It well predates Bush.

And no, again, he didn't  "reverse his position" on the issue. Many NEW whistleblower protections still exist, he just took issue with that one particular thing (for whatever reason). Unless you mean he "reversed his position" on specifically that one issue, in which case you need to SAY that instead of saying he reversed his position on whistleblowing altogether.

I'm not arguing the guy's infallible or perfect, just that you should know what you're talking about and hold him accountable for reality, not your feverish dreams.
2013-08-12 01:37:10 PM
1 votes:

LasersHurt: firefly212: The guy got elected on a platform of change, yet

Whenever someone says this, they always follow it with "but here's one thing I still have a problem with."

There will never, ever, ever, ever be a chance when you can't make that argument. It's silly, and meaningless.


I voted for the guy when he was for a public option, when he was pro-whistleblower, when he said he was going to go toe-to-toe with Chiina when they violated our trade agreements, when he said he was against free speech zones conceptually because the whole country was supposed to be one...  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CU0m6Rxm9vU">http://www.youtube.com/wa tch?v=CU0m6Rxm9vU
... That guy... so tell me... he said he was going to change it, that the government would be more transparent, that he was going to have a government that could stand up to sunlight... yet he's prosecuted far more people for leaking, and run a far more information-controlled government than even Bush... so... I guess it's silly and meaningless to say that on the stuff that mattered to me, on the reasons I voted for him, he's been woefully ineffective.
2013-08-12 01:05:09 PM
1 votes:

LasersHurt: imontheinternet: This Administration has a terrible track record on transparency and going after whistleblowers.  This and other holdover policies from the Bush years are going to be the worst part of Obama's legacy.

It's like you try to go out of your way to be uninformed.


Obama has failed to keep his promises on a host of transparency issues, like no bid contracts, having public negotiations of bills, keeping logs of meetings with White House staff, disclosure of lobbying information for federal contractor, etc.  Likewise, the pursuit of and PR war against Snowden and the treatment of Bradley Manning are very telling on the treatment of whistleblowers.

You can support a party or a side without sucking the president's dick on every single issue.  He promised the most transparent administration in history.  He hasn't delivered, not even close.
2013-08-12 12:42:00 PM
1 votes:

qorkfiend: firefly212: vernonFL: The first amendment doesn't cover espionage or treason.

Words have farking definitions, and I'm goddamn tired of farkers throwing around TREASON as synonomous with "dissidence that I don't like."

Under Article III, Section 3, of the Constitution, any person who levies war against the United States or adheres to its enemies by giving them has committed treason within the meaning of the Constitution. The term  aid and comfort refers to any act that manifests a betrayal of allegiance to the United States, such as furnishing enemies with arms, troops, transportation, shelter, or classified information.

(sorry, copy pasta from legal dictionary, underlining not added)

The reality is that from Snowden through this guy, we're just tossing the term Treason around lightly... it isn't a farking light word. We're not talking about people waging war against our country or running to our enemies and giving them information to overthrow us, we're talking about people having substantive conversations with members of the press about ways in which the government is potentially violating our constitution. People attempting to force the government to adhere to the constitution are not attempting to "overthrow" our government, "levy war" against it, or give aid and comfort to the hypothetical enemies of state the government scapegoats as reasons for the questionable practices in the first place.  These are people who want to make a constitutional government, not dismantle it. Under this looser, new definition of "Treason" advocated by the fascists among us, "Treason" now means doing anything illegal, as breaking the law is inherently anti-state... whether you mishandle sensitive data, disclose obviously illegal practices by the government (if they have not yet been ruled illegal by the courts), or jay-walk, they contort the definition of the term such that any act constitutes a little war against the government, and as such is treason.

Treason is a real and se ...


I didn't miss it, the Vietnam Papers were also classified... frankly, misclassified... times when the government breaks the law or violates the constitution and public trust, then classifies it not because it is sensitive to national security, but because they know that it's embarassing and probably illegal. Mishandling classified information is a separate charge under the law with good reason, not every classified disclosure is an attempt to overthrow, wage war against, or otherwise harm the government, to the contrary, as Snowden, the Vietnam Papers, and numerous other leaks of classified information to the press (not so much disclosure to just adversaries) have shown, these leaks are often made in the efforts of securing a constitutional government, not bringing one down.

I'm farking tired of people like you purposely conflating disclosure of classified information like.. say giving nuclear missile plans to an enemy with something like disclosing unethical acts on the part of our government. These are not interchangeable concepts, and the differentiation is the reason different charges exist under the law. Even as aggressive as AG Holder and President Obama are, they have not accused, in a court, Mr. Snowden of Treason, nor is the guy named in this case accused of Treason... yet you farkers just throw the damned word around like its nothing at all... they did something you don't like, er go, Treason. It's a spurious line of reasoning that devalues actual treason and just makes the people who throw the word around lightly look like hyperbolic morons at best, and trolls at worst.
2013-08-12 12:15:24 PM
1 votes:

vernonFL: The first amendment doesn't cover espionage or treason.


Words have farking definitions, and I'm goddamn tired of farkers throwing around TREASON as synonomous with "dissidence that I don't like."

Under Article III, Section 3, of the Constitution, any person who levies war against the United States or adheres to its enemies by giving them has committed treason within the meaning of the Constitution. The term  aid and comfort refers to any act that manifests a betrayal of allegiance to the United States, such as furnishing enemies with arms, troops, transportation, shelter, or classified information.

(sorry, copy pasta from legal dictionary, underlining not added)

The reality is that from Snowden through this guy, we're just tossing the term Treason around lightly... it isn't a farking light word. We're not talking about people waging war against our country or running to our enemies and giving them information to overthrow us, we're talking about people having substantive conversations with members of the press about ways in which the government is potentially violating our constitution. People attempting to force the government to adhere to the constitution are not attempting to "overthrow" our government, "levy war" against it, or give aid and comfort to the hypothetical enemies of state the government scapegoats as reasons for the questionable practices in the first place.  These are people who want to make a constitutional government, not dismantle it. Under this looser, new definition of "Treason" advocated by the fascists among us, "Treason" now means doing anything illegal, as breaking the law is inherently anti-state... whether you mishandle sensitive data, disclose obviously illegal practices by the government (if they have not yet been ruled illegal by the courts), or jay-walk, they contort the definition of the term such that any act constitutes a little war against the government, and as such is treason.

Treason is a real and serious crime... if we catch someone giving troop locations and tactical information to Al Qaeda, by all means, charge them. If we catch someone giving nuclear weapon schematics to Iran or Syria, by all means, charge them with Treason. That said, no, the release of the Nixon Tapes or the Vietnam Papers, or even Snowden's release about NSA Domestic Spying... that's not Treason.

lilyincanada.files.wordpress.com
2013-08-12 12:10:49 PM
1 votes:

The Numbers: vernonFL: nmrsnr: There is no privilege to keep your sources secret. You don't tell the court, you go to jail. It's been that way for quite a while. There's even a handy list going back to 1984.

[i301.photobucket.com image 450x385]

Thankfully Obama never ran under a banner of change, or he'd be looking pretty stupid...


Sure.  Because that means EVERYTHING has to change, even the good stuff and stuff he can't control.

You're on the right team.  Keep trying!
2013-08-12 11:45:42 AM
1 votes:

SphericalTime: WTF?  Why is a New York Times reporter not being given "reporter's privilege" under the 1st Amendment?


Because there is no such thing.
2013-08-12 11:41:12 AM
1 votes:

nmrsnr: There is no privilege to keep your sources secret. You don't tell the court, you go to jail. It's been that way for quite a while. There's even a handy list going back to 1984.


i301.photobucket.com
2013-08-12 11:37:44 AM
1 votes:
['you can't publish that because of the national security risk'] when you write a story. And then they can never back it up. They say that about everything.

I remember when the wikileaks stuff all came out, classified information included conversations about the fact that Gaddafi had a blonde nurse with big tits. If that is even top secret info then you have no credibility to claim anything is.
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-08-12 11:28:27 AM
1 votes:

Weaver95: Yup. You rat out important and powerful people, then they can destroy your career, put you in jail and scare the piss out of anyone who dares help you. That's the American way!


Except that that's not what this guy did.  He revealed information on CIA operations against CIA operations against the Iranian nuclear program as revenge for his being fired.  He even said hat he was going to leak classified information to get revenge.  The reporter wrote a book about the CIA operations.

I don't think any country would grant immunity to someone like that.  This isn't even about getting the reporter to reveal his source, they already know that.  It's just about having him testify about a crime he witnessed.

Not what TFA claimed at all.
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-08-12 11:13:36 AM
1 votes:

SlothB77: Given its significance, it is shocking how little publicity the Risen/Sterling case has yet received from major media outlets with a direct interest in its outcome.

The media is more interested in propping up Obama than it is in protecting their own craft.  This isn't surprising at all.


The media seems to pretty much be at war with Obama over the leaker issue.  Claiming that they are "protecting" him is kind of troll-y.
2013-08-12 11:13:04 AM
1 votes:

nmrsnr: There's even a handy list going back to 1984.


Odds of folks clicking: Very low. So here's the copypasta:

1984, Richard Hargraves, Belleville, Ill. Newspaper reporter jailed over a weekend in connection with libel case. Released when source came forward.

1985, Chris Van Ness, California. Free-lancer subpoenaed in connection with John Belushi murder. Jailed for several hours; revealed source; released.

1986, Brad Stone, Detroit. TV reporter refused to reveal identities of gang members interviewed several weeks prior to cop killing. Jailed for one day; released pending appeal. Grand jury then dismissed.

1987, Roxana Kopetman, Los Angeles. Newspaper reporter jailed for six hours for resisting prosecution subpoena seeking eye witness testimony. Appealed; court ruled against her, but criminal case was long over.

1990, Brian Karem, San Antonio. TV reporter subpoenaed by defense and prosecution; refused to reveal name of individuals who arranged jailhouse interview. Jailed for 13 days. Released when sources came forward.

1990, Libby Averyt, Corpus Christi, Texas. Newspaper reporter subpoenaed for info about jailhouse interview. Jailed over a weekend; released when judge convinced she would never turn over the unpublished information sought.

1990, Tim Roche, Stuart, Fla. Newspaper reporter subpoenaed to reveal source for leaked court order supposed to have been sealed. Jailed briefly, released pending appeal. Later sentenced to 30 days for criminal contempt. Served 18 days in 1993, and was released.

1991, Sid Gaulden, Schuyler Kropf, Cindi Scoppe, Andrew Shain; Columbia, South Carolina. Jailed for eight hours; released for appeal, which they lost, but trial was over. Prosecutors sought unpublished conversations with state senator on trial for corruption.

1991, Felix Sanchez and James Campbell, Houston. Newspaper reporters locked in judges chambers for several hours; had refused to stand in the back of courtroom and identify possible eyewitnesses to crime. Appeal successful through habeas corpus petition.

1994, Lisa Abraham, Warren, Ohio. Newspaper reporter jailed from Jan. 19 to February 10, for refusing to testify before a state grand jury about jailhouse interview.

1996, Bruce Anderson, Ukiah, Calif. Editor of Anderson Valley Independent found in civil contempt, jailed for total of 13 days for refusing to turn over original letter to the editor received from prisoner. After a week, he tried to turn over the letter, but judge refused to believe it was the original because it was typed. After another week, judge finally accepted that the typewritten letter was the original.

1996, David Kidwell, Palm Beach County, Fla. Miami Herald reporter found in criminal contempt, sentenced to 70 days for refusing to testify for prosecution about jailhouse interview. Served 14 days before being released on own recognizance after filing federal habeas corpus petition.

2000, Timothy Crews, Red Bluff, Calif. Sacramento Valley Mirror editor and publisher served a five-day sentence for refusing to reveal his confidential sources in a story involving the sale of an allegedly stolen firearm by a state patrol officer.

2001, Vanessa Leggett, Houston, Texas. Author researching "true crime" book jailed for 168 days by federal judge for refusing to disclose her research and the identities of her sources to a federal grand jury investigating a murder. Leggett was freed only after the term of the grand jury expired. A subsequent grand jury indicted the key suspect in the murder without any need for her testimony. Leggett may again face a subpoena during his murder trial.

2004, Jim Taricani, Providence, R.I. A WJAR television reporter obtained and aired in February 2001 a portion of the videotape showing a Providence city official accepting a bribe from an undercover FBI informant. The tape was sealed evidence in an FBI investigation into corruption by Providence officials, including former Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci Jr. Taricani was subpoenaed, but refused to reveal his source and was found in civil contempt of court. After a failed appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston (1st Cir.), NBC, WJAR's network, paid $85,000 in fines. In November, Taricani was found in criminal contempt of court and a month later, was sentence to six months home confinement. He was granted early release after being confined for four months.

2005, Judith Miller, Washington, D.C. New York Times reporter jailed for refusing to testify against news sources in the investigation into leaks of a CIA operative's name by White House officials. She spent 85 days in jail, and was released when she agreed to provide limited testimony to the grand jury regarding conversations with vice presidential aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby without revealing her other sources.

2006, Josh Wolf, San Francisco, Calif. Freelance video blogger initially jailed for a month when he refused to turn over a video tape that federal officials said contained footage of protesters damaging a police car. Wolf was released on bail on Sept. 1, but an appeals court panel confirmed the contempt order against him and Wolf returned to jail. He was finally released on April 3, 2007.
2013-08-12 10:30:42 AM
1 votes:

factoryconnection: but would it have killed the columnist's message to even briefly explain the basis for the ruling against James Risen invoking reporter's privilege?


You can read the decision for yourself here, however, the crux of the issue pertaining to the Reporter's Privilege was that the 4th Circuit cited the 1972 Supreme Court Decision Branzburg v. Hayes, which stated that there is no general purpose reporter's privilege arising out of the First Amendment.

http://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/opinions/Published/115028.p.pdf (a discussion of the common law reporter's privilege starts at around page 32.)
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-08-12 10:19:47 AM
1 votes:
I don't have a problem with prosecuting leakers, but it might be a bit much to go after the reporter who receives the leak.  There are laws to protect actual whistle blowers (as opposed to leakers) so it makes sense to have something similar for reporters.
2013-08-12 10:01:03 AM
1 votes:
WTF?  Why is a New York Times reporter not being given "reporter's privilege" under the 1st Amendment?
 
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