NYT reporter calls Obama WH the “greatest enemy of press freedom”

posted at 10:41 am on March 25, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Thus testifies James Risen, the New York Times reporter reviled by the Bush administration for his probes and exposés of highly-classified government efforts to curtail terrorism. Risen may have had his issues with the Bush White House over his scoops and his sources, but they apparently pale in comparison to what he’s experiencing under Bush’s successor. Speaking to a symposium on press freedom, Risen minced no words in describing the threat to journalists from the Barack Obama administration:

New York Times reporter James Risen, who is fighting an order that he testify in the trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer accused of leaking information to him, opened the conference earlier by saying the Obama administration is “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.” The administration wants to “narrow the field of national security reporting,” Risen said, to “create a path for accepted reporting.” Anyone journalist who exceeds those parameters, Risen said, “will be punished.”

The administration’s aggressive prosecutions have created “a de facto Official Secrets Act,” Risen said, and the media has been “too timid” in responding.

Toobin appeared on a panel that followed, moderated by Times Supreme Court reporter Adam Liptak, who announced that if he weren’t a paragon of journalistic detachment, he’d say “the persecution of James Risen is a scandal.” The attorney Laura Handman noted that the U.S. Department of Justice’s new guidelines for accessing journalists’ records carve out a big space for the government to decide what constitutes “ordinary newsgathering.”

The panel mentioned Risen and Fox journalist James Rosen, who an FBI agent suggested was a “co-conspirator” in another leak investigation.

It wasn’t just that an FBI agent “suggested” that Rosen was a co-conspirator in espionage. It’s that the allegation was presented as part of a probable-cause warrant to conduct surveillance on Rosen — a move that required the approval of Attorney General Eric Holder, who has dodged questions about how that warrant request got approved.

Jeffrey Toobin and Obama administration lawyer Robert Litt tried to justify the war on reporters:

Robert Litt, the administration’s top lawyer for the national intelligence community, agreed with that statement. At the same conference, he likened reporting on national security leaks to drunk driving, arguing that we ban the practice despite the fact that there isn’t always a victim.

“Not every drunk driver causes a fatal accident,” he explained, “but we ban drunk driving because it increases the risk of accidents. In the same way, we classify information because of the risk of harm, even if no harm actually can be shown in the end from any particular disclosure.”

That’s why we prosecute the leakers, though, and not the reporters. Reporters do not take an oath to protect classified material, although they should exercise a lot more caution and discretion than Risen did in several instances at the NYT. That’s a matter of ethics, not law. The leakers are the criminals in this case, with some limited exceptions for true whistleblowing actions.

No one argued that the Bush administration went easy on journalists. We heard plenty of complaints about crackdowns on leakers during those eight years, some of which were more than justified in both crackdowns and complaints about them. However, until Obama took office, the federal government wasn’t swearing out surveillance warrants on reporters by accusing them of conspiring to commit espionage. The hostility to press freedom comes from the same impulse that limits other freedoms — to control the people through misinformation and a lack of accountability, so as to expand power even further. It’s not just in the area of press freedom that this administration has become the greatest threat in a generation.


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Here comes his anal audit.

CurtZHP on March 25, 2014 at 10:43 AM

It’s too bad Obama’s Comrades in the National Socialist Media either don’t want to see the truth of this statement ( and can’t remember their history) or think that they will be unaffected by this threat – because they will be part of the power elite of the national socialist left.

DinaRehn on March 25, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Gee, ya think? And it only took you 5+ YEAR to catch on to what the rest of us KNEW before the Vacation-in-Chief was even elected.

Welcome to the party, pal!

Meople on March 25, 2014 at 10:46 AM

Other reporters have had their homes raided and computers confiscated. Welcome to the USSA.

dogsoldier on March 25, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Ironically, we have the press to thank for this.

Flange on March 25, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Obama WH the “greatest enemy of press freedom

Fixed.

It’s not just the free press that is being threatened by this Regime. It’s everyone. Opposition to His Glorious Agenda is regarded as near criminal.

ConstantineXI on March 25, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Ironically, we have the press to thank for this.

Flange on March 25, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Yes. The whole purpose of including the Press in the 1st Amendment was to PREVENT Obama Regimes…

ConstantineXI on March 25, 2014 at 10:51 AM

…then why is everybody at the NYT wearing knee pads?

KOOLAID2 on March 25, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Here comes his anal audit.

CurtZHP on March 25, 2014 at 10:43 AM

IRS audit, EPA audit, hell probably audits by unenumerated alphabet soup agencies we’ve never heard of.

Remember the local CBS reporter who exposed the information that White House press briefings are STAGED, with pre-submitted questions and answers? Yeah, took them a whole DAY to get her to recant…

Same thing going to happen here.

One thing this Totalitarian Regime doesn’t like is to be called Totalitarian. Especially by the LSM.

ConstantineXI on March 25, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Playing the tiniest violin for the NY Slimes.

Croke in obama’s azz, you derelict weasels. What you consume ain’t Beluga caviar. Suffocate in obama’s azz.

None of you deserve the First Amendment. You have avidly worked to lose that right.

Here’s an example of the other morons’ ‘reporting’.

Schadenfreude on March 25, 2014 at 10:53 AM

He is the greatest threat to ALL Americans’ freedom, to the Constitution, to the Eule of Law…to this nation’s very survival.

easyt65 on March 25, 2014 at 10:54 AM

…then why is everybody at the NYT wearing knee pads?

think carpet layers Koolaid, they’ve got callouses and have built up a tolerance.

DanMan on March 25, 2014 at 10:57 AM

Risen minced no words in describing the threat to journalists from the Barack Obama administration

Chickens, meet Roost. Enjoy.

Tsar of Earth on March 25, 2014 at 11:00 AM

think carpet layers Koolaid, they’ve got callouses and have built up a tolerance.

DanMan on March 25, 2014 at 10:57 AM

The way Obama swings they don’t need kneepads. They need LUBE.

ConstantineXI on March 25, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Did the lapdog socialist crony press corps (pronounced C-O-R-P-S-E), aka, Newspeak, actually think that the abridgment of rights would stop with the IRS targeting conservatives. And yet, ordinary constitutional loving citizens will find no empathy flowing from the liberal press gods. Freedom is the constituent of no one.

cthemfly on March 25, 2014 at 11:02 AM

The government media spent all these years watching conservatives being targeted and thought if they kept carrying the socialists’ poop bucket they would somehow be exempt. Dictators will target anyone. Sycophants are just last on the list.

crankyoldlady on March 25, 2014 at 11:03 AM

So what the NYT and this panty waist will still drop to their kness to service Barry on command faster then the ten year old child of some religious nut.

Your Mamma loves me on March 25, 2014 at 11:05 AM

Thus testifies James Risen

Silly boy, you just need a little “explanation”…I am sure you will back away from your statement in a few days after it is fully explained to you.

Besides, investigating this administration just makes you a conservative racist (redundant to liberals), and you know you are not that, so there is only one alternative…sit down and shut up, they will tell you what to write.

right2bright on March 25, 2014 at 11:07 AM

“Presidents Who Hate Reporters, and the Reporters Who Love Them”

Ward Cleaver on March 25, 2014 at 11:07 AM

Ironically, we have the press to thank for this.

If you lie with the dogs, don’t be surprised when you get the fleas.

TxHotGas on March 25, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Your Mamma loves me on March 25, 2014 at 11:05 AM

Asparagus flavored post hole diggers is cornpone.

CurtZHP on March 25, 2014 at 11:16 AM

“But Bush was so much worse…”

-O’bama Cultist-

Del Dolemonte on March 25, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Risen minced no words in describing the threat to journalists from the Barack Obama administration

Risen did mince words. He’s concerned only about his freedom to spread the world view according to the NYT. He’s not the least bit concerned about freedom of association, religion, association, my speech, your speech, freedom to own property, to govern ourselves in our own localities and states, etc.. “Press freedom” is mincing words.

Had Risen not been fighting about testifying in a leak case, does anyone actually believe that he gave a damn about freedom.

cthemfly on March 25, 2014 at 11:19 AM

NYT reporter calls Obama WH the “greatest enemy of press freedom”…..Pigs fly?

workingclass artist on March 25, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Here’s an example of the other morons’ ‘reporting’.

Schadenfreude on March 25, 2014 at 10:53 AM

C’mon, it only took them five paragraphs to get to the reason for the opposition!

/s

Naturally Curly on March 25, 2014 at 11:22 AM

obviously this reporter is a racist.
/sarc

dmacleo on March 25, 2014 at 11:23 AM

Ironically, we have the press to thank for this.

Flange on March 25, 2014 at 10:47 AM

.
KABOOM !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ExpressoBold on March 25, 2014 at 11:23 AM

This clown may be the greatest enemy of a free press but the real problem lies that he was the enemy of about half the citizens of this country in his first term, managed to get re-elected and now is the greatest enemy of as many as 60%+ of the people and rising.

tej on March 25, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Obama WH the “greatest enemy of press freedom”

Fixed.

It’s not just the free press that is being threatened by this Regime. It’s everyone. Opposition to His Glorious Agenda is regarded as near criminal.

ConstantineXI on March 25, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Freedom is so overrated. The security in gettin’ Bammy’s free stuff is better.

/SNARK

hawkeye54 on March 25, 2014 at 11:27 AM

Partnership suggestion: James Risen and Sharyl Attkinson could team up for investigative reporting and IRS audits.

joecollins on March 25, 2014 at 11:29 AM

the real problem lies that he was the enemy of about half the citizens of this country in his first term, managed to get re-elected and now is the greatest enemy of as many as 60%+ of the people and rising.

Could be the very reason Bammy’s admin is allowing muzzie imigrants and refugees in by the tens of thousands. He needs more friends here.

/SNARK

hawkeye54 on March 25, 2014 at 11:31 AM

and the media has been “too timid” in responding.

Huh? Does he mean that the MSM (AKA whores for Obama) should protest?

GarandFan on March 25, 2014 at 11:33 AM

to control the people through misinformation and a lack of accountability, so as to expand power even further.

Isn’t this a plank in the Democratic Platform?

mankai on March 25, 2014 at 11:33 AM

After about three weeks of not being invited to any “uptown” dinner parties, this guy will back away real quick….

right2bright on March 25, 2014 at 11:39 AM

to control the people through misinformation and a lack of accountability, so as to expand power even further.

Isn’t this a plank in the Democratic Platform?

mankai on March 25, 2014 at 11:33 AM

You know what that reminds me of?

Mongol General: Wrong! Conan! What is best in life?
Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their womenjournalists.
Mongol General: That is good! That is good.

right2bright on March 25, 2014 at 11:41 AM

right2bright on March 25, 2014 at 11:41 AM

Well, since neither mention God or Israel, I’m pretty sure they’d be included on a voice vote.

mankai on March 25, 2014 at 11:45 AM

“the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.”

Give me a break. A “generation”? What a wuss.

rrpjr on March 25, 2014 at 11:47 AM

Headline: “Prostitutes Complain About Being Treated Like Whores”.

No sympathy, no mercy. They pushed the stupid black child; they can suffer the consequences.

northdallasthirty on March 25, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Headline: “Prostitutes Presstitutes Complain About Being Treated Like Whores”.

northdallasthirty on March 25, 2014 at 11:54 AM

FIFY.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on March 25, 2014 at 12:13 PM

>That’s why we prosecute the leakers, though, and not the reporters. Reporters do not take an oath to protect classified material, although they should exercise a lot more caution and discretion than Risen did in several instances at the NYT.

–Playing Devil’s Advocate

Don’t we prosecute bartenders/hosts/etc who facilitate the leaker, I mean driver?

SpudmanWP on March 25, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Toobin has morphed into a partisan hack. A decent attorney is now a disgraceful, hate-filled, crank.

pat on March 25, 2014 at 12:21 PM

Hmmm, the Mainstream Media is shocked, shocked I say to discover that contrary to promises, the dragon didn’t wait to eat them last…

Does anyone have Captain Renault’s cell phone number, he is apparently refusing to answer the Red courtesy phone…

oscarwilde on March 25, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Too bad the NYT, and the rest of the media, didn’t do their job back in 2007.

lel2007 on March 25, 2014 at 12:42 PM

I posted on this yesterday in the headlines section. Why we don’t carry over the comments / article from there instead of creating all these separate threads is beyond me.

And my point I made yesterday is that this “journalist” is just acting like a typical “Liberal”. For years he’s been promoting Obozo and his anti-American concepts and values, but only now, when it’s affecting him directly,,does he speak out against those same destructive things he’s been promoting for years.

This is a subject lesson in “Liberalism” if you ask me.

KMC1 on March 25, 2014 at 1:41 PM

As long as the government spies on everyone, the media will be “too timid” to do anything. All it takes is one phone call threatening to expose something about them or their family. They created their own mess, but it’s too late to do anything about it.

lea on March 25, 2014 at 2:39 PM

You helped make this Frankenobama. Now that you’ve seen the light it is your duty to start telling folks the truth about this man. You can start by releasing his college transcripts that you’ve been sitting on.

neyney on March 25, 2014 at 4:47 PM