The Rosen case follows other signs that the administration has gone overboard in its zeal to find and muzzle insiders. The Associated Press revealed last week that the government had secretly seized two months’ worth of records for telephones used by the agency’s staff, partly to determine the source of a leak about a report involving a foiled terrorist plot in Yemen. At least two other major leak investigations are continuing. Six current and former administration officials have been indicted under the old Espionage Act for leaking classified information to the press and public. In 2010, a federal judge in Maryland sentenced a leaker to 20 months in jail while admitting that he was “in the dark as to the kind of documents” involved in the leak or what impact they had on national security.
Obama administration officials often talk about the balance between protecting secrets and protecting the constitutional rights of a free press. Accusing a reporter of being a “co-conspirator,” on top of other zealous and secretive investigations, shows a heavy tilt toward secrecy and insufficient concern about a free press.