Obama said he made “no apologies” for being concerned about national security but that the free flow of information was important to him as well.
What exactly is this “free flow” of information? According to The Guardian blogger Glenn Greenwald:
If you talk to any real investigative journalist, they will tell you that an unprecedented climate of fear has emerged in which their sources are petrified to talk to them. That the Obama administration has prosecuted double the number of whistleblowers under espionage statutes as all previous administrations combined has already severely chilled the news gathering process. Imagine what message this latest behavior sends to journalists and their sources: that at any moment, the phone records of even the nation’s most establishment journalists can be secretly obtained by the DOJ, which has no compunction about doing so even in the most extreme and invasive manner.
This mind set is obviously not very conducive to a “free flow” of information. So apparently, President Obama’s “free flow” of information is only pertaining to that information which benefits his administration:
The Obama administration does not mind leaks of classified national security information; to the contrary, they love such leaks and are the most prolific exploiters of them. What they dislike are leaks that they don’t approve and/or which don’t glorify the president.
Interestingly, the media is suddenly up in arms about this abuse by the Obama administration. This passage from the Washington Post had Greenwald laughing audibly:
President Obama, a former constitutional law lecturer who came to office pledging renewed respect for civil liberties, is today running an administration at odds with his résumé and preelection promises.
The Justice Department’s collection of journalists’ phone records and the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups have challenged Obama’s credibility as a champion of civil liberties – and as a president who would heal the country from damage done by his predecessor.
You don’t say! The Washington Post’s breaking news here is only about four years late. Back in mid-2010, ACLU executive director Anthony Romero, speaking about Obama’s civil liberties record at a progressive conference, put it this way: “I’m disgusted with this
president.” In the spirit of optimism, one can adopt a “better-late-than-never” outlook regarding this newfound media awakening.
The news media should take a several steps back from its cozy relationship inside the Beltway and return to its adversarial position as a watchdog of government. We, the people, need the media on our side, not the side of the politically elite.