Obama’s hunt for leaks, sources worries reporters

October 10, 2013

spyAn “open government” promised by President Obama not only has failed to materialize, a veteran Washington editor asserts, but has become instead one the of the most secretive and intrusive administrations in history.

Leonard Downie, who spent 40 years at the Washington Post — 17 of those as editor — probed the opinions of 30 veteran White House and Capitol reporters to prepare a report for the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Downie said each of those interviewed agreed they “could not remember any precedent” to Obama’s aggressive, technology-fueled pursuit of the identities of leakers and confidential sources.

The New York-based advocacy association “special report” noted that concern has been heightened by news of the administration’s snooping into emails and other electronic communications of journalists in a search for leakers.

National security journalist R. Jeffrey Smith, of the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit government accountability news organization in Washington, told Downie, “I worry now about calling somebody because the contact can be found out through a check of phone records or e-mails. It leaves a digital trail that makes it easier for the government to monitor those contacts.”


We’ve all missed the obvious in this piece:

An “open government” promised by President Obama not only has failed to materialize – a veteran Washington editor asserts.

Really? It’s only been, what, 5 years? That’s efficient journalism right there…


The Obama administration is the most secretive administration this nation has ever had to deal with. When their term ends it will take us years to get this country back on the right track.


The sheeple will, unfortunately, forget as they always do, and vote for the same next time around!


it will take us years to get this country back on the right track meanwhile the rest of the world will keep making progress, the sphere of human rights is slowly inexorably expanding all over the globe

Chile went through an ordeal with military rule , Obama is in many ways Salvador Allende’s darker brother experiencing deliberate destabilization unrelenting internal opposition from the Tea-folks and a pesky intelligence worker leaking things at just the right time to queer the deal with external embarrassments, The United States has lost prestige and will lose far more than that unless the people here learn to recognize who we are, paraphrasing GHB “we are the United States of America”

Obama is in trouble this means we are in trouble as a nation in our shared relation to other nations, we need a come together instead of shut down.


Really? How are those “rights” in Europe and Africa coming along? I suppose the Middle East is a jewel of human rights, too… along with southeast Asia… China, etc.

We’re so backwards here, we have a lot of catching up to do with those aforementioned bastions of human rights!


True enough about the Obama administration’s track record. One of the two reasons I voted for him the first time around was that the Bush administration was the worst prior to Obama and I hoped that would change. Unfortunately, I suspect that any candidate from either party likely to be nominated in 2016 will just continue the trend.

There are better people in both parties but they won’t get nominated for the Presidency because that takes too much money and those controlling the distribution of that money are power-hungry plutocrats who want a strong federal government as long as their puppets are in charge. Neither major party cares about the Constitution or the concepts on which it is based — except to manipulate honest voters into supporting them until elected. Once in office, they continue their lies but only act to support individual liberties if they are forced to do so to contain a public outcry.


At least Obama was able to keep the golf course at Andrews open while closing the WWII memorial

Randy Sheila

From the Washington Post, no way! Can’t we all get comfortable with our national security and secret information being gifted to anyone who wants to know? Talk about paranoid, what’s the worst thing that could happen if TWO security agents decide to leak sensitive information. It’s not like there are people with ill intent trying to hurts us. When this all started after 9-11, everyone thought it was OK, but then again, things were different – and NOBAMA was it. Tell me what is different between then and now, other than technological advances that continue to help keep us safe. Bush doesn’t get the blame for creating a more intrusive environment, we all wanted it regardless. Obama doesn’t get credit for killing Osama bin Laden, we put him there to do it and pay big $$ for all the resources to help make it happen regardless. I can accept that none of us want to be spied upon. The next step is to elect folks who give us this specifically – GOOD LUCK with that! This is partisan-based and I am surprised to see it in “print” since it appears not to lead to any new conclusions.


“Bush doesn’t get the blame for creating a more intrusive environment, we all wanted it regardless.” I didn’t and said so to anyone who would listen at the time (not many.) So, speak for yourself — and probably for the majority of Americans who were guided in their reactions to 9-11 by a sensationalistic media and opportunistic politicians. Actually, if my memories are correct, the push for action to achieve “security” with no regard to privacy or individual liberties originated more from Congress (both parties) than from Bush but he went with the flow.


What a bunch of codswallop !

President Obama INHERITED this ! It was all manipulated and set in place by the Bush era Patriot Act. The mechanisms and bureaucracies such as the NSA, CIA, FBI and other alphabet soup agencies have been around for decades. President Obama probably couldn’t change much, and would probably be put on some ‘enemies list’ himself by the spooks and functionaries in these shadow outfits if he tried very hard.

Most of those White House and Capitol reporters are cowards and equivocators anyway….the ones today.

Gone are Drew Pearson, Jack Anderson, Ben Bradlee …true journalists that earned respect.


I just walked into a door. He didn’t really mean to do it. He’s had so much on his mind lately. Who’ll take me if I lose him? My God, man, reread what you wrote and really think about it. All you do is make excuses, excuses and more excuses. Freakin’ pathetic!!! GAAAHHH!!!! Wake the (expletive deleted) up!!!


Laugh: That’s how partisanship works. Blindly support “your” guy, even if it makes you look like an idiot.


Yes it’s true that the Bush administration created the Patriot Act. However, the Obama administration has used it to a new level and I must say an abuse of power. Just like many things created to help provide safety and care such as security, welfare assistance, etc; The privileges of trust have been abused and our liberty has been tainted.

Your sensationalized irrational outlook of how the Intel agencies and Washington work are comical and immature. Each new admin sets up the head of the government agencies who they choose to run the government and usually choose those who follow his or hers ideology.


Every president is obedient to a dominate economic power,



As others have pointed out, Obama enlarged and enhanced the mechanisms and bureaucracies he inherited. He can SAY all sorts of comforting things to keep the true believers from worrying too much but I will judge him by his actions and they aren’t good on these issues so far. And before you go blaming it all on Republicans, consider that our own recently re-elected senator was among many leading Democrats that not only have supported Obama’s actions on this but supported the Patriot Act and other obscene Bush-era legislation just as much.

If you want to believe Obama is only doing this because of threats from shadowy government functionaries, put on your tinfoil hat and check this theory out. The Secret Service is under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Treasury. SecTreas is almost invariably a person with a long background in the financial industry. (Those appointed by both Bush and Obama came from Goldman-Sachs.) This sounds logical on the surface but could there be a more nefarious reason as well? If, as many postulate, the financial industry really runs America, wouldn’t they want a way to neutralize a possibly antagonistic president. What better way than to make sure that at least a couple of his Secret Service agents were able and willing to communicate their demands to him with a discrete message to the effect that he (and/or members of his family) would live longer if he cooperated?

You are largely right about the modern DC reporting crews but I have to wonder how much that might be do to pressures from their own superiors.


Ah gee…and here you thought you elected a guy with a spine that could stand up to all of those nasty CIA types. Guess not. By the way, you never mentioned the guys at the Federal Reserve who REALLY run the show. You probably didn’t know that though. Time to wise up Sower. All of the Presidents since 1913 when the Federal Reserve was created “INHERITED” a mess. They have all been puppets. Your guy is just the BIGGEST puppet!


Have you ever heard about the mormon banker Marriner Eccles? he took what he needed from Keynes and set the mandate for our Fed Reserve during the long reign of FDR the best book about the Fed is Secrets of the Temple the creation of the fed eased the undulations that formerly caused a panic as regularly as sunspots after FDRs reform the Fed has done a pretty good job they have been creating our currency out of thin air for one hundred years now most people alive now have it better than the wealthy of 1905


Thank you Slowfaster. As I read this article I was waiting in anticipation to read the replies. I figured you or Bobfromsanluis would make a comment either blaming Bush or the Republicans. Thanks for not letting me down.

Yep Bush has been out of office for five years and Obama and all his lackeys still blame Bush. Now here is the funny part. All you types get upset that we don’t accept the fact that Obama is our president. Question, when is he going to accept the fact that he is our president? He obviously hasn’t so why should anyone?


Obama is the most dangerous President in our history, IMO. It has nothing to do with the color of his skin, but his actions as Commander and Chief.


Careful, you might just get audited by the IRS… repeatedly… if you keep up this terrorist, extremist line of wondering…

…and they’ll know it’s you, because they have all the metadata (and then some); so it is really easy to compile a case file and profile.

…just giving fair warning…


Actually, I was already fully audited by the IRS.

I received a notice of audit from the IRS. I contacted the Santa Maria IRS office and spoke to my assigned auditor. To be fair he was VERY kind. Due to my medical issues, he agreed to complete the audit via mail and did not make me go in physically to the office in SM. Shortly after this, I received a bill from the IRS in “Cincy” for $50,000 owed in back taxes. I contacted Mr. Auditor immediately and he said it was just a “generic letter sent out by our Cincy office” and to disregard as the audit results will determine the true amount owed. So I spent 2 months working on the audit with the IRS.

I have a letter of release of audit showing NOTHING due. It was signed off by 5 IRS supervisors. Wet signatures.

I owed them nothing. Not one dime.

It is interesting to note that I had filed a 501C4 application in that year.



A perfect example why Facebook is a fascist evil incarnate with their “top commenter” or “Phd aka piled high & deeper” faux credentials trying to establish an elitist society.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

When the “transparency” claim no longer works to get your way, those in power will resort to accusations that require $$$$ and TIME to defend. This is part of the playbook of control….and is used as leverage against political, social or family enemies.

They will use their organization or their bully pulpit to bring a hint of impropriety, effectively emasculating the individual.

Machiavellian politics 101.

I’m glad you stood your ground Danika!!!! My hat’s off to you!


Let’s see if they audit me again for my post. I will let you know.


This is what you get when you elect someone with little or no track record. The people who voted for him fell for the promise of hope and change. What we got was what the facts supported, a Chicago style politician with radical associations and no real world experience. This should not be a surprise to anyone. The only surprise is that so many ideologues still support him.


I disagree. We did vote for the “hope and change” – and we got the change. We just failed to ask, “change to what?”

Of course, it does not help that we no longer have journalists, rather manufactured and indoctrinated activists; the ultimate useful idiots.


The alternative offered by the GOP in 2008 was a once-reasonable man that had gone to the dark side by believing that we should engage in continuous military actions in the middle-east for a period of many decades. Given that, putting hope (however slim) in positive change from a relatively unknown new face is not as unreasonable as you seem to think. From what I remember, Obama wasn’t even really a part of the Chicago machine until after he got elected to the Senate and then only marginally so. Given the option and the circumstances, I won’t apologize for my vote for him in 2008. (I saw enough by 2012 to learn and voted Libertarian knowing full well that my vote would be purely symbolic.)


There was also another HONEST man running in 2008 that the mainstream press managed to poo-poo so much that not many would touch with a 10 foot poll. Then when he ran again in 2012 and had a much better chance of winning this time but it was the GOP that played a multitude of dirty tricks on him to keep him out of office. Why you might ask? Because for 30 years he had worked in Congress to audit the FED otherwise know to you as the Federal Reserve. By the way did all you know that the Federal Reserve is actually not a branch of the Federal Government but is a privately owned banking cartel? Google around and check it out for yourself. This is how the FED will ever so politely describe themselves: http://www.federalreserve.gov/faqs/about_14986.htm and then this is who they really are: http://www.dailypaul.com/134862/is-the-federal-reserve-system-part-of-the-us-government


Had this “HONEST man” been the Republican candidate in either 2008 or 2012, he would have received my vote despite a couple of major disagreements with his positions. His positives outweighed those negatives and his election would have shook up the DC power structure in a badly needed way.

Of course that same power structure probably would have worked to neutralize all his good ideas just like they did for the last “honest man” to be President back in the late 1970s.


Gosh, you mean if you put a bunch of Chicago Machine cutthroats in charge of the most powerful government apparatus in history, they’ll abuse it? Jeepers, who could have seen this coming? Golly, I’m sad.

Ben Daho

Have you seen what is going on in Washington? No matter WHAT Obama does the right skewers him. if he moves, they call him a dictator, if he doesn’t he fails to lead. there are over 200 countries. Some of them want to see the Demise and people like the gop (American Taliban) want the leader of the Free world destroyed at ANY COST! if you can’t understand the need for secrecy and confidential information, YOU should move to France. when I was a young man I heard “loose lips sink ships” Now because Obama is in office, it’s all the rage! look, How many issues do you need to know about? Give us an example of something that the president did that was secret that YOU should have known about.

Was it the Raid on Bin Laden?

Kevin Rice

Darn those Tea Party White House journalists!!!


I’m not sure there’s even an argument in your words, it is rather chaotic. I think you are trying to defend Obama from the vast right-wing conspiracy (or whatever they decide to call this today). Yes, so vast, he was unable to get elected. Twice. So vast, he was unable to pass Obamacare (when that fight was PURELY with his own party, as they had a super-majority). So vast Obama is unable to blatantly lie about everything he does and have the media scold him on it! So vast that he can have WORSE numbers than Bush ever had, yet not be called out daily on how bad the economy and his presidency is. So vast, he cannot even cover up Benghazi (remember that?). So vast, he cannot dodge the IRS abuses. So vast, he is being grilled on Fast and Furious. So vast…


Your comment is now “Hidden due to low comment rating.” This is a case where it shouldn’t be. It is not because what you said is offensive or unintelligible. It is only because large numbers (including me) disagree strongly with your viewpoint. Is there a way that CCN could change the automatic nature of this process?

With that out of the way, I can think of several examples to cite in response to your suggestion. At the top of the list is the decision to keep the public in the dark about the extent of the NSA’s surveillance programs. We don’t need to know all the specific details but we do need to know the general scope in order to give feedback about it. Only a few people in congress were allowed to know that much and many were lied to about the details. They were also sworn to total secrecy before they were allowed to learn anything.

Considering the massive intrusions on personal privacy (an individual right implied in the first and fourth amendments to the Constitution), there is no way that the NSA’s proposed actions should not have been generally debated in a very open and public manner before they actually started. If this made them less effective, tough. There are risks to living in a free society but they are better than the inevitable consequences of living in a Orwellian state.


CCN has the “click here to see” right there> after comment hidden.


I know — I used it. But I think that many people would just skip by thinking that there were reasons other than disagreement with point of view for it being hidden.


there is a link on the side bar about comment voting something like 50? down votes, remark disappears