There have been recent headlines about the Bush Administration threatening journalists and whistleblowers. Whenever yet another embarrassing spy scheme is uncovered, this administration falls back on the old “the best defense is a good offense” routine.
Instead of being embarrassed or apologetic, these megalomaniacs react with fury and vengeance. Recently Bush said
I come from a long line of blueblooded aristocrats and I don’t have to explain myself. The riffraff doesn't need to know what I’m doing
The disclosure of this program is disgraceful. For people to leak that program and for a newspaper to publish it does great harm to the United States of America.”
And if you’ve surfed the Internet lately you’ve seen that a lot of rightwing bloggers are faithfully carrying out their orders by echoing this line of “reasoning."
But behind the headlines, the Bush Administration has been even more desperate and ruthless
than you’d ever suspect. They are determined to squelch all information about their covert schemes; to delete any notion of openness or accountability. Here
is an NPR broadcast from last March on this subject.
Dozens of employees from the CIA and National Security Agency have been investigated — including having to take polygraph tests — for possible leaks about secret CIA prisons and the NSA’s
Big Brother Is Watching
domestic surveillance program.
A lot of other CIA, FBI and Justice Department employees have been warned not to discuss even unclassified issues relating to the NSA spying program. Some rightwing Republican lawmakers are pushing for tougher penalties against “leakers.”
This is the most blatant anti-media campaign since the Watergate era. The New York Times Executive Editor said “There’s a tone of gleeful relish in the way they talk about dragging reporters before grand juries, their appetite for withholding information, and the hints that reporters who look too hard into the public’s business risk being branded traitors. I don’t know how far action will follow rhetoric, but some days it sounds like the administration is declaring war at home on the values it professes to be promoting abroad.”
Most Americans who favor an open and accountable government are appalled by the Abu Ghraib and Gitmo prison scandals, secret wiretapping programs and secret CIA prisons where SUSPECTED terrorists are tortured. (Note the word “SUSPECTED” in the previous sentence.)
Wingnut Republicans, on the other hand, are also appalled and infuriated, but not by the scandals themselves. No, their fury is directed at the journalists and whistleblowers who are daring to bring this secrecy and corruption out into the open.
Former CIA Director Porter Goss said “It is my aim, and it is my hope, that we will witness a grand jury investigation with reporters present being asked to reveal who is leaking this information.”
These Far Right “My Country Right Or Wrong” types might be living in the wrong country. If they don’t like living in a democracy with an open and accountable government, they should buy a one-way ticket to the police state of their choice. Buh bye.
Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) is pushing to criminalize leaking a wider range of information than is now covered by law. A similar law was vetoed by former President Clinton and was even opposed in 2002 by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft. Things have gotten pretty dire when John Ashcroft starts looking like the good old days.
cross-posted at Bring It On!