October 11, 2013
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has released a report showing that President Obama is on a crusade to subvert the freedom of the press and democracy.
Leonard Downie, professor of journalism at Arizona State University (ASU) and author of the report for CPJ said: “Journalists and transparency advocates say the White House curbs routine disclosure of information and deploys its own media to evade scrutiny by the press. Aggressive prosecution of leakers of classified information and broad electronic surveillance programs deter government sources from speaking to journalists.”
Downie pointed out that the Obama administration has a “war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration, when I was one of the editors involved in The Washington Post’s investigation of Watergate.”
Journalists interviewed for the report conveyed the fact that the “US government has conducted more than twice as many criminal prosecutions for alleged leaks of classified information than all the previous administrations combined.”
The Obama administration has taken internal leaks seriously with the implementation of aggressive measures under the Insider Threat Program (ITP) that conducts surveillance on journalists to prevent whistleblowing by any means necessary.
Of course, the term “threat” remains broad in order to make sure that it becomes a catch all for anything the ITP deems it has jurisdiction over to report whistleblowers or would-be whistleblowers.
Internal channels have been paved so that these “enemies of the United States” can be dealt with properly.
According to the Pentagon, an “insider threat” is defined as an employee “with a clearance who ‘wittingly or unwittingly’ harms ‘national security interests’ through ‘unauthorized disclosure, data modification, espionage, terrorism, or kinetic actions resulting in loss or degradation of resources or capabilities.’”
The ITP is under high security to ensure that leverage for blackmail and coercion are utilized to the fullest extent and power by this current administration to mitigate potential leaks with co-workers spying on each other, keeping profiles for future use and the broad spectrum surveillance that remains intact long after a subject is no longer an immediate threat for future consideration.
The Obama administration made public a portion of this initiative with the presidential memorandum entitled, “National Insider Threat Policy and Minimum Standards for Executive Branch Insider Threat Programs” wherein leaks are considered treasonous acts against the current administration.
The reward based system set up by the Obama administration gave coverage and protection to those whistleblowers who “followed the proper channels” when leaking out information and paved the way for the ITP to punish other who did not allow the federal government to control their leaks.
With the threat of lost jobs and “negative personnel action” federal employees are to report on each other for breaches of information; including being expected to report themselves.
Using behavior profiles to gage how likely an employee is to leak secret information to the public; spies are utilized all through the Obama administration, in Congress and all agencies to prevent people from speaking up against “wrongdoing”.
Under ITP, Obama asserted that intelligence agencies would follow a subject for years after they had “defected” from the US government to determine if highly classified documents had been acquired and could be released to media outlets or the general public.
By using public opinion against the potential leak, the ITP is designed to discredit the whistleblower.
According to an anonymous official from the Pentagon: “If the folks who are watching within an organization for that insider threat – the lawyers, security officials and psychologists – can figure out that an individual is having money problems or decreased work performance and that person may be starting to come into the window of being an insider threat, superiors can then approach them and try to remove that stress before they become a threat to the organization.”
Last month, in an attempt to control the freedom of the press, the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) approved new proposal for consideration on the Senate floor that would create a federal media shield (FMS) that could provide security to media journalists that do not want to reveal their confidential sources.
Called the Free Flow of Information Act (FFIA), the 13-5 vote secured that there would be a FMS for 1st Amendment rights of the press.
According to the text of the bill: “Conditions for Compelled Disclosure- In any proceeding or in connection with any issue arising under Federal law, a Federal entity may not compel a covered person to comply with a subpoena, court order, or other compulsory legal process seeking to compel the disclosure of protected information, unless a Federal court in the jurisdiction where the subpoena, court order, or other compulsory legal process has been or would be issued determines, after providing notice and an opportunity to be heard to such covered person.”
There is a stipulation that the governmental “party seeking to compel disclosure of the protected information [must have] exhausted all reasonable alternative sources (other than a covered person) of the protected information.”
The definition of what a journalist is is included in the text: “[The committee defined] a “covered journalist” as an employee, independent contractor or agent of an entity that disseminates news or information. The individual would have been employed for one year within the last 20 or three months within the last five years. It would apply to student journalists or someone with a considerable amount of freelance work in the last five years. A federal judge also would have the discretion to declare an individual a ‘covered journalist,’ who would be granted the privileges of the law.”
The definition does not “include any person or entity whose principal function, as demonstrated by the totality of such person or entity’s work, is to publish primary source documents that have been disclosed to such person or entity without authorization”; meaning that journalists within the alternative and independent media are now not considered “covered journalists” or even journalists at all.