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George W. Obama Part Six

Posted on May 1 2010 12:00 pm
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The wait is over, ladies and gentlemen! President George W. Obama has been kind enough to help me finish the sixth part of my series about him. This time, the Obama Administration has decided to peeve the left-wing base by continuing its predecessor’s campaign of pressure on James Risen for the revelations made in his 2006 book,  State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration.

The Obama Administration has served Risen with a subpoena so they can find out who leaked classified information about the CIA’s attempts to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program by providing them with tainted equipment, including one operation in 2000 that backfired and may have actually helped the Iranians.

From the New York Times report:

The message they are sending to everyone is, ‘You leak to the media, we will get you,’ ” said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. In the wake of the Bush administration’s aggressive stance toward the press, she said, “as far as I can tell there is absolutely no difference, and the Obama administration seems to be paying more attention to it. This is going to get nasty.”

Kurt Wimmer, a Washington lawyer who helped win White House approval for a proposed federal shield law, called the move against Risen “disappointing” after “we had positive discussions with the Obama administration” on the need to give journalists a legal foundation for protecting their sources in most cases.

The Bush Administration’s jailing of Judith Miller and unrelenting effort to stop leaks was roundly criticized from the left as an attack on the freedom of the press. Now the Obama Administration is continuing this, and actually finishing the predecessor’s job in pressuring Risen.

Leaks are often very damaging. They compromise national security, and other times are used to wage political warfare—as the Bush Administration knew all-too-well when opponents of their policies inside the government used their allies in the press to fight them. At the same time, journalists need to be able to have confidential sources. It is vital in our democracy. A middle-line has to be drawn where sources can be protected, but newspapers and authors cannot recklessly print our secrets that jeopardize our security, especially when such secrets don’t reveal government abuse.

As I wrote here, the West’s attempts to sabotage Iran’s nuclear programs using the methods Risen revealed have been very successful. Iran might have been nuclear-armed today if it wasn’t for the operations. There is absolutely no way revealing this program is justified. It has been suggested that his book may have led to the identification and subsequent execution by the Iranians of a Mossad spy involved in such efforts. Risen is not a hero and the leaker should be punished, but I am uneasy about the government forcing reporters to give up their sources.

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