“Obama’s Justice Department is under fire following revelations revealed by the Associated Press that the government secretly obtained two months worth of private phone records from the news agency in 2012 during what appears to be a brazen attempt to discover the source of an intelligence leak.” -Joe Queally, Alternet
“The media’s purpose is to keep the public informed and it should be free to do so without the threat of unwarranted surveillance,” -Laura W. Murphy, ACLU
What surprises me most about the president’s AP scandal is that people are surprised.
This president is very smart and likeable. I voted for him both times, but to be painfully honest, this president has waged war against civil liberties and transparency in government from day one. Where did people think that train was going to go? President Obama has been more successful than even President Bush at peeling back protections against invasions of privacy. Did anyone think that shattering protections so the government could spy on Muslims, and others linked (however remotely) to terrorism, would not be applied elsewhere? Did liberals really think an administration that would violate the rights of Tea Party members would treat them differently? Did anyone really believe the president’s war against whistleblowers was so the Government could be more open? Did people think it was a coincidence that this administration would nominate someone linked to government spy programs to head the FCC?
The UK Guardian laments:
“Although Obama was elected on a liberal ticket in 2008 and again in 2012, his administration has mounted a sustained campaign through the courts and other means against whistleblowers, particularly in relation to what it claims are sensitive intelligence matters.
Media organisations and civil rights groups complain that many of the cases it appear to have to do with administrative secrecy than matters of national security.
The Obama administration has brought six cases against people suspected of leaking classified information, which AP described as being more than under all previous presidents combined.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which focuses on protecting civil liberties in the digital age, said that US citizens and press advocates should be upset at the new revelations, but that it should be seen as an expected development given the pattern of behavior by law enforcement and government intelligence agencies in recent years.
Overall, the group said in a post on their blog, “this revelation of government’s secret access to huge amounts of calling records as part of its leak investigation should not be such a surprise. The DOJ has long maintained that no one has any privacy interests in their call data records and has also engaged in unprecedented and aggressive prosecutions around government leaks.”
The problem isn’t just with President Obama, it it is a weakness of our entire national culture. Here’s a news flash: There is no honor among thieves. Which ever party one belongs to, we need to find principles that are fair to all even those who aren’t American. If we do not believe in human rights for all people, we do not believe in human rights at all.