Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Opinion

May 31, 2013

Letters to the Editor 6/1/13

Prying government eyes

To the Editor: The U.S. Justice Department covert seizure of Associated Press phone records in April/May 2012 is correctly described as an “affront to the free press clause of the First Amendment” in the editorial published on May 18, 2013 in the Corsicana Daily Sun. As stated, a free independent press is critical to keeping government honest and transparent.

This latest revealed collision of news organizations and the Obama Administration over the disclosure of national security information, shows the aggressive policy of the U.S. Justice Department to rein in leaks, according to the New York Times. The purpose is to make an example of government officials who talk to reporters.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has prosecuted more government officials for alleged leaks under the World War I era Espionage Act than all his predecessors combined. Along with Holder’s refusal to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests and his repeating of “I don’t know” before Congress — this policy is outrageous in a democracy that values freedom of the press.

For example, in June 2009, FBI agents tracked the telephone calls and e-mails of Fox News Washington correspondent James Rosen to a government advisor Stephen Jin-Woo Kim. Rosen had reported that U.S. intelligence officials were warning that North Korea was likely to respond to United National sanctions with more nuclear tests. Attorney General Holder personally signed off on the search warrant, naming Rosen a “possible co-conspirator” in violation of the Espionage Act for obtaining leaked classified information from Kim. In previous administrations, the focus has been upon the government leader, not the journalist. Yet in this instance, the focus was on depicting James Rosen as a criminal, for having received information from someone inside the government.

No wonder that there is little negative press about the Obama Administration, which embarrasses the President. National security is always the excuse of administrations trying to hide things people ought to know.

Sincerely,

Steven L. Jessup

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