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  (Source: Fits News)
Government hunts for source of leaks inside its ranks, tramples freedom of press

A federal judge approves sweeping subpoenas of over 20 phone numbers associated with a top national journalist organization, hunting for the source of government leaks to the press.  No, this isn't a tale of Soviet Russia (or Putin-era Russia); it's the story that's breaking here in the "land of the free".

I. Big Brother is Watching the Press

In an outraged letter to U.S. Attorney General (AG) Eric Holder, the Associated Press, one of the nation's largest news organizations, accuses the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) of a potentially serious violation of freedom of the press.  According to the letter from Gary Pruitt, records from 20 phone lines -- including personal phones of AP editors/columnists and AP business phone numbers in New York; Hartford, Connecticut; and Washington -- were subpoenaed in a "massive and unprecedented" attempt to monitor on the press.

Mr. Pruitt writes [PDF]:

These records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the newsgathering activities undertaken by the AP during a two-month period, provide a road map to AP's newsgathering operations and disclose information about AP's activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know.
We regard this action by the Department of Justice as a serious interference with AP's constitutional rights to gather and report the news.

He demanded that the DOJ return all records collected and destroy all copies of them.

Associate Press
President Obama's Justice Department stands accused of spying on AP offices and staffers.
[Image Source: Getty Images]

The DOJ defended its actions in a statement, commenting:

We must notify the media organization in advance unless doing so would pose a substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation.  Because we value the freedom of the press, we are always careful and deliberative in seeking to strike the right balance between the public interest in the free flow of information and the public interest in the fair and effective administration of our criminal laws.

The AP was not told why the records were subpoenaed, but it is aware that some of the employees whose records were subpoenaed were involved in a story in which an undisclosed government official leaked an account of a foiled May 2012 bomb plot on an aircraft flying into the U.S.

Eric Holder
Fresh off outrage over his support of drone death strikes on Americans on U.S. soil, AG Eric Holder has another controversy to contend with. [Image Source: AP]

Analysts say that the Obama administration has pushed the limits farther than any administration before it in hunting for leakers in its ranks with surveillance and subpoenas.

II. The Hunt for Leakers

In this case there has been no signal yet that the feds wiretapped the reporters in question.  However, some top politicians are already questioning the Obama administration's "Big Brother" tactics.  Comments Michael Steel, spokesperson for Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Speaker of the House, "The First Amendment is first for a reason.  If the Obama administration is going after reporters' phone records, they better have a damned (sic) good explanation."

President Obama
President Obama has been frustrated with leakers in his ranks. [Image Source: AP]
Ben Wizner, the head of the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, also sounded off against the spying, commenting:

Obtaining a broad range of telephone records in order to ferret out a government leaker is an unacceptable abuse of power.  Freedom of the press is a pillar of our democracy, and that freedom often depends on confidential communications between reporters and their sources.

The development even made some members of the President's own party queasy.  Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Verm.) commented, "I am very troubled by these allegations and want to hear the government's explanation.  The burden is always on the government when they go after private information -- especially information regarding the press or its confidential sources.  I want to know more about this case, but on the face of it, I am concerned that the government may not have met that burden."

The Obama administration has dramatically increased warrantless surveillance in the U.S. on American citizens over the last five years in the name of fighting "crime" and "terrorism".  However, it came under scrutiny this last week when it was revealed that the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeted members of the Tea Party and other pro-change groups with tax audits.  It should be interesting to see how the Attorney General and President Obama justify these latest actions in weeks to come.

Sources: AP [PDF], ACLU

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By superflex on 5/14/2013 9:15:04 AM , Rating: 5
Between this, the IRS targeting conservative political non-profits, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, HHS's shakedown of insurance companies for "donations" to help spread the good word of Obamacare, and billions of dollars of political slush money sent to failed "green energy" companies, it's time to send Obama and his minions to a shared cell with Blago and Jesse Jackson Jr.
Of course, it will have to wait until after the 2014 election until Harry Reid's tenure as the Senate's obstructionist comes to a screeching halt.
The most open and transparent administration ever.
Forward Comrades!

RE: Impeach
By Scaredy Retard on 5/14/13, Rating: -1
RE: Impeach
By superflex on 5/14/2013 9:46:44 AM , Rating: 2
Says the kid with 9 whole comments on DT.

RE: Impeach
By Scaredy Retard on 5/14/13, Rating: -1
RE: Impeach
By JasonMick on 5/14/2013 10:22:01 AM , Rating: 2
What the f7ck does that have to do with anything? Did you ever think I may have been here for ages and never bothered registering until recently? Or that this is just one of my accounts?
Cool off a bit pal before you post any more.

Occasionally we will completely ban a user or IP block from DailyTech. You can assure yourself a ban by:
* Harassing other users or employees
* Excessive use of derogatory language
Don't be childish if you wish to stay here.

RE: Impeach
By Dorkyman on 5/14/2013 10:56:42 AM , Rating: 2

Thanks, Jason.

RE: Impeach
By Samus on 5/14/13, Rating: -1
RE: Impeach
By Nfarce on 5/14/2013 11:18:53 AM , Rating: 5
I am in no way defending the Bush administration's actions in a lot of things (thanks for the TSA, Bush), but if you are referring to Iraq, you need to go after all the Democrats as well who sat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, saw the case for WMDs, and voted for war approval along with all the other regular Democrat Congresspeople (except Democrat John Kerry of course who "voted for the war before he voted against it").

In any event, Obama's power grab and arrogant ego (and the cronies he surrounds himself with) makes Bush look as benign as Ford.

RE: Impeach
By inperfectdarkness on 5/16/2013 3:41:49 AM , Rating: 3
I saw it coming back in 2008. The American public had been so frustrated with Bush Jr's reign that it was willing to virtually dispense with the constitutional principles of what makes America such a great country--by electing a deluge of social-reformers.

Never mind the fact that social reforms usually are inversely related to economic prosperity. I will forever remember the videos of people who were voting because they wanted "some o' dat Obama money".

Sadly, I can think of only 2 things that the Obama administration has done correctly:

1. Net Neutrality
2. DADT repeal & gay rights

#1 is of such dire importance that it almost makes the hardship of enduring Obama worth it. Almost. The GOP platform sure as sh** wasn't going to stand up for net neutrality.

Who do I vote for again? I'm pro net-neutrality, pro-choice, anti-gun-control and anti-social-programs. Thanks a lot, bipartisan system.

RE: Impeach
By Ammohunt on 5/16/2013 2:26:01 PM , Rating: 3
1. Net Neutrality

This is good for sure GOP is on the wring side of this argument.

2. DADT repeal & gay rights

DADT repeal will in the long run decimate the military in branches that actually fight on the ground. it has nothing to do with gays not being good fighters and everything to do with unit cohesion.

RE: Impeach
By inperfectdarkness on 5/17/2013 12:43:09 AM , Rating: 2
Unit cohesion will not suffer because of DADT. It will actually suffer more from allowing women in combat--if only due to pregnancies. A pregnant servicemember means that the rest of the unit has to carry the weight of deployments.

I know of virtually no one in the military who has a problem with practically anyone serving, provided he/she carries his/her equal share of the burden. Unit cohesion will not suffer because of DADT repeal. Sexual harrassment is still sexual harrassment--regardless of gender.

RE: Impeach
By Ammohunt on 5/17/2013 1:23:06 PM , Rating: 2
I agree there should not be coed combat units women and men should be segregated. DADT will most definitely destroy unit cohesion. Any and all differences take away from the solid cohesive unit model. Race is the common example use to defend DADT. It isn't remotely the same as sexual preference and to this day soldiers divide themselves by race more often than not.

RE: Impeach
By inperfectdarkness on 5/17/2013 2:52:24 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't effect combat effectiveness. In the modern DOD, you don't have to worry about someone providing fire support for you because you're a different race than the guy in that unit. You don't have to worry about your buddy in the foxhole not covering your 6 because of "ethnic tensions". If such tensions did exist, MEO would be hearing about it in very short order. Things which impact combat effectiveness stick out like a sore thumb.

Frankly, ever 4-star and service secretary interviewed by congress said repealing DADT wasn't going to affect combat effectiveness--and I completely agree. By extension, that also means that unit cohesion won't suffer either--because combat effectiveness doesn't last when unit cohesion goes out the window.

Stop being an alarmist. I really don't care if my Sgt is checking out my ass in the bathroom; as long as he's competent enough to keep the enemy OFF it. As I said, sexual harassment is still sexual harassment. Genders of the involved parties doesn't change anything.

RE: Impeach
By 91TTZ on 5/14/2013 12:22:52 PM , Rating: 3
Clinton lied while under oath, that's what got him in trouble. If it wasn't for that, the whole scandal would have only been an embarrassment.

RE: Impeach
By Shadowself on 5/14/13, Rating: -1
RE: Impeach
By Shadowself on 5/14/2013 9:29:11 PM , Rating: 1
I meant to add this clarification...

Think of it this way as a purely hypothetical situation...

Let's say I killed someone by cutting their head off with a guillotine -- one single, clean stroke.

Then under oath during a sworn deposition with regard to something unrelated to that act the local prosecutor asks me if I murdered someone. My lawyer asks the prosecutor to define what he means by "murder someone". The prosecutor then stupidly defines murder as "shooting, repeatedly stabbing, or poisoning someone". Then under that definition my lawyer instructs me to answer the question honestly. I can then say, per that definition, that I had never murdered someone. Per the definition I did not lie under oath.

Virtually everyone on the planet would believe that I had lied (including me!). However, per the U.S. legal system, I had not.

RE: Impeach
By StormyKnight on 5/15/2013 4:07:47 AM , Rating: 2
Clinton was actually disbarred for 5 years or more.

RE: Impeach
By Just Tom on 5/15/2013 12:24:54 PM , Rating: 4
The judge in Clinton v. Jones found Clinton in contempt of court for intentionally false testimony. Sounds like lying under oath to me.

RE: Impeach
By MrBlastman on 5/14/2013 2:54:02 PM , Rating: 5
I still can't believe the domino effect that lead to Bill Clinton's impeachment. When you consider all things, he wasn't a bad president, he just screwed up lying to us, deregulating the banks, and Kosovo didn't go over well either...

So being a liar is an acceptable, model quality of a sitting president?

Let's see, you forgot a few things...

What about Vince Foster and all the other people that "dissapeared" while Clinton was in office? "Oh, he just died on a park bench!" ... Without any footsteps or evidence of him making his way there.

What about Osama Bin Laden and our opportunity to take him out--thus avoiding countless lives lost years later?

What about the National Homeownership Strategy that encouraged Creative Lending... sponsored by Clinton?

What about their repeated ignorance of foreign affairs and inability to properly respond to them? Slick Willy had this problem and as we now see from Benghazi... his wife Hillary did, too. How many lives have to be lost before we measure their incompetence with this alone?

Domino effect? He /just/ screwed up by lying to us? Really? You see it like that?

Unless you're being sarcastic and I really hope you are.

RE: Impeach
By Cheesew1z69 on 5/14/2013 7:36:34 PM , Rating: 2
Jason, then why don't you apply that to others? I have pointed this out, yet, messele, pirks, xti, they continually get away with breaking those rules yet nothing is done.

RE: Impeach
By xti on 5/14/2013 11:02:38 PM , Rating: 1
you should look in the mirror cheesy.

as soon as anyone says anything you dont like, you call them moron, stupid, etc...

RE: Impeach
By Cheesew1z69 on 5/15/2013 9:22:28 AM , Rating: 2
And as usual, you are wrong.

RE: Impeach
By xti on 5/15/2013 11:39:14 AM , Rating: 1
random post of yours, very, very friendly on you part.

RE: Impeach
By Cheesew1z69 on 5/15/2013 12:17:50 PM , Rating: 3 - this one talks about Jasons mom - that should have gotten you banned right away.

There are MANY more..

And others call you the same names, but you single me out, how ironic. Perhaps you should stop and think, it's not everyone else that's the problem, it's you ...

Jason needs to enforce those and remove you and Pirks and Messele to start.

RE: Impeach
By xti on 5/15/2013 3:35:50 PM , Rating: 2
lol...there is a HUGE difference between tongue in cheek vs the blatant lashings you do to everyone.

done with you son.

RE: Impeach
By Cheesew1z69 on 5/15/2013 4:33:19 PM , Rating: 2
"everyone", again no, just idiots like you, pirks and messele.

And done with me? Great! You are still a troll/tool.

RE: Impeach
By xti on 5/15/2013 5:26:32 PM , Rating: 2
your post here should get you banned, hopefully doesnt cost DT more readers.

RE: Impeach
By Nfarce on 5/14/2013 11:13:12 AM , Rating: 2
Stay classy, Obama worshipper. Typical hate from you people. SO typical.

RE: Impeach
By MrBlastman on 5/14/2013 2:45:30 PM , Rating: 5
But... Progressivism is all about tolerance!

They tolerate things as long as they are about what they tolerate. As soon as something steps in that is about what they aren't--well, watch out, they get pretty vicious!

Wait. Isn't that hypocritical? It is. :)

RE: Impeach
By Belard on 5/16/2013 4:47:03 PM , Rating: 1
it is....vs. going back to the old days which were NEVER like Leave it to Beaver. tolerance is shown by civil rights, every American should vote, our privacy respected, religion out of other people's businesses. if you want to believe your god lives on another planet and magic underwear protects you from evil... go right ahead. but when you actively fuck with peoples lives... go away.

RE: Impeach
By Belard on 5/15/2013 12:01:19 AM , Rating: 2
Somwhow you think there is no hate in your words?

RE: Impeach
By Belard on 5/15/2013 12:01:19 AM , Rating: 2
Somwhow you think there is no hate in your words?

RE: Impeach
By V-Money on 5/14/2013 11:21:02 AM , Rating: 5
Or that this is just one of my accounts?

Think before you type, pal.

...Wouldn't having multiple accounts make you the troll?

RE: Impeach
By Skywalker123 on 5/15/2013 9:50:59 AM , Rating: 1
Your name is quite appropriate.

RE: Impeach
By Breathless on 5/14/2013 9:50:19 AM , Rating: 2
I'll take it that was sarcasm? Or just stupidity?

RE: Impeach
By JasonMick on 5/14/2013 10:10:01 AM , Rating: 3
I'll take it that was sarcasm? Or just stupidity?
I don't know but I love how someone with that s/n accuses a legitimate commenter of trolling... like, lulwut?

RE: Impeach
By Cheesew1z69 on 5/14/2013 7:33:27 PM , Rating: 1
He is a troll, don't worry about him.

RE: Impeach
By xti on 5/14/2013 10:10:07 AM , Rating: 2
i hope you get stuck with Perry instead.

RE: Impeach
By kamiller422 on 5/14/2013 11:08:00 AM , Rating: 1
Rick Perry? Great governor. The closest to a Mr. Smith today.

RE: Impeach
By xti on 5/14/2013 12:03:02 PM , Rating: 2
did you think i was talking about katy perry...?

RE: Impeach
By marvdmartian on 5/14/2013 2:45:10 PM , Rating: 5
Well, that COULD be interesting! Think of the possible outfits we'd see, just during the Democratic Convention!!

RE: Impeach
By Belard on 5/15/2013 12:08:26 AM , Rating: 1
Rick perry is so damn stupid, he makes GWBush look like a rocket science.

He's an embarrassment to our state.

RE: Impeach
By omgwtf8888 on 5/14/2013 11:21:17 AM , Rating: 5
Please oh... please oh... please... make Rick Perry president. Could we be any worse off? Maybe??? but good lord the comedic possibilities!

RE: Impeach
By DiscoWade on 5/14/2013 11:19:26 AM , Rating: 1

If you impeach Barack Obama, you will have Joe Biden as president. I rather have a corrupt president than a corrupt and embarrassing president. And let us be honest here and take emotion out of this, President Obama is just as corrupt as most other politicians and just as corrupt as President Bush was.

RE: Impeach
By ebakke on 5/14/2013 1:12:39 PM , Rating: 4
And let us be honest here and take emotion out of this, President Obama is just as corrupt as most other politicians and just as corrupt as President Bush was.
I think Bush was a pretty bad President, but I genuinely believe he's a good person who means well and tried to govern as well as he could. I believe he and I merely have different views on how to solve the problems facing our country.

I don't share the same viewpoint toward our current President. I don't know that he and I even share the same opinions on what the problems are, let alone how we should solve them. I also think his number one concern is himself, and not our country.

RE: Impeach
By Armageddonite on 5/14/2013 6:40:23 PM , Rating: 2
That frame of mind is called partisanship. It involves caring more about the one-sided interests of a particular party than about the country as a whole. And anyone who has had any political success in life is either guilty of this, or was inexplicably lucky.

RE: Impeach
By stilltrying on 5/15/2013 7:46:50 PM , Rating: 1
i guess unicorns do exist

RE: Impeach
By superflex on 5/14/2013 12:29:44 PM , Rating: 3
Add one more to the list.
EPA waives fee requests for friendly groups, denies conservative groups.
Wait till the CIA inserts its size 12 up Obama's rear for throwing them under the bus.

RE: Impeach
By superflex on 5/14/2013 1:09:18 PM , Rating: 2
The hit parade keeps on coming
KMOV anchor: The IRS is targeting me

RE: Impeach
By superflex on 5/14/2013 1:19:27 PM , Rating: 5
Top CBS, ABC, CNN execs all have relatives working as advisors for White House
Nothing to see here minions. Move along.

RE: Impeach
By Armageddonite on 5/14/2013 6:26:47 PM , Rating: 1
You win the prize for the most biased and ignorant argument on this entire site, of all time.

RE: Impeach
By laser_cow on 5/14/13, Rating: -1
RE: Impeach
By Cheesew1z69 on 5/14/2013 8:21:07 PM , Rating: 2
setting the market to soaring new heights and records
Please do explain how Obama caused the "market to soar to new heights and records"....

RE: Impeach
By Asetha on 5/15/2013 6:55:11 AM , Rating: 2
It involves a printing press...

RE: Impeach
By StormyKnight on 5/15/2013 4:53:59 AM , Rating: 1
killed Bin Laden in 4 years while the Bush boys couldn't in 8,

Obama killed bin Laden like JFK landed on the moon. If it weren't for the intel gathered by the "Bush Boys", Osama would still be alive. In light of recent events, I'm actually shocked that they didn't capture bin Laden, mirandize him and afford him legal representation under our constitution and put on trial as if he were a citizen.

saved the US auto industry when no loans were being given from public banks, all the while Republicant's were saying let them die ( even though millions of jobs and subsidiary small companies would perish ... )

If you'll recall, Bush started the auto bailot, dimwit. It was wrong. They should have gone into bankruptcy like any other business to reorganize. There is no proof that GM and Chrysler would have gone belly up if the government didn't intervene by nationalizing them. But, what was the root cause for the problems in the first place? Oh, let's see, could it have been the housing collapse? Hmmm?? You know, all the people that shouldn't have gotten mortgages they couldn't afford to pay under some 'affirmative banking enforcement' started by Carter and then continued by Clinton.

Both Bush and McCain gave dire warnings about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac giving out too many loans to too many people that couldn't possibly pay it back. They wanted more regulation to stop the practice for fear of what exactly happened, the housing bubble burst.

But the fact is, President Bush in 2003 tried desperately to stop Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from metastasizing into the problem they have since become.

Here's the lead of a New York Times story on Sept. 11, 2003: "The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago."

Bush tried to act. Who stopped him? Congress, especially Democrats with their deep financial and patronage ties to the two government-sponsored enterprises, Fannie and Freddie.

"These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis," said Rep. Barney Frank, then ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. "The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing."

It's pretty clear who was on the right side of that debate.

As for presidential contender John McCain, just two years after Bush's plan, McCain also called for badly needed reforms to prevent a crisis like the one we're now in.

"If Congress does not act," McCain said in 2005, "American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system and the economy as a whole."

So when the bubble burst, credit was essentially frozen. GM and Chrysler couldn't secure loans they needed to keep operating. Both companies had internal blunders, but could still operate with stable credit available. When the credit was gone, the weaknesses were revealed and the companies all but collapsed.

RE: Impeach
By ven1ger on 5/17/2013 4:55:13 AM , Rating: 2
Since you want to back your assertions from a blog, which claims facts are facts just because they list it. Here is something I came across another blog from a commenter which better refutes your blog assertions:

"Neither of those acts forced anyone to make any loans. The risky loans were originated by banks and other financial institutions of their own volition. The policies of the federal government which sought to increase home-ownership generally are bad for other reasons, but didn't cause the recession. You should also be careful to distinguish government policies which prevented discrimination against minority applicants for home loans and those which sought to increase home ownership generally.

And if you really think that the government first started promoted housing in the suburbs under Carter, it's because you found your preferred answer and stopped looking. That's just when they decided to try to make it fair. After the second world war, it was the policy of Housing and Urban Development for many years to subsidize home loans, exclusively for white applicants. Again, this is inefficient for many reasons, but it undeniably helped white people to maintain their unwarranted leads in income and education, among other things. It's amazing to me that conservatives have concluded that government helping citizens directly is a horrible thing, now that it's inclusive, and as a result they are forced to simply ignore enormous transfer payments that took place before the time period they arbitrarily choose to examine.

It's also plainly absurd for you to single out a policy from 1977 for a bubble that began around 2000. Housing prices were on a steady upward trend before that (some fluctuation of course), and are actually still roughly in line with that trend.
The financial collapse wasn't caused by falling home prices. It was caused by the repackaging of the mortgages into mortgage-backed securities, and then the repackaging of those mortgage-backed securities into supposedly safe, but truly very risky derivatives. For a good treatment of this, I would recommend Michael Lewis's book, "The Big Short". Banks then leveraged their borrowing to the point where for some of them, as small as a 2% decline in their portfolio would leave them in the red. It's unclear to me whether it was incompetence or fraud that caused the spread of the contagion of mortgage-backed securities, but it looks like both. This recklessness is what caused the collapse. Bubbles happen. Financial markets speculate. But they don't always cause general collapse. The difference was that the risks were poorly understood and spread throughout the entire economy. "

Link if you want to read all:

Here's a link to the actual Act to read what the Act was created to address:

And here is what I consider a more objective view of what the cause of the mortgage was, but if you want to keep the political blinders on:

Using a blog to justify one's position is incredulous, but whatever you want to glean your facts from is up to you. I prefer to trust wikipedia a bit more than a blog as there are references but blogs typically don't provide legitimate references.

"If you mod me down, I will become more insightful than you can possibly imagine." -- Slashdot

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