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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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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.

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer

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