News Release

AP Scandal and the War on Whistleblowers


KEVIN GOSZTOLA, kevin.gosztola at, @kgosztola
Gosztola is co-author of Truth & Consequences: The U.S. vs. Bradley Manning. He said today: “This assault on freedom of the press is an outgrowth of this administration’s war on whistleblowers or alleged leakers.” See Gosztola’s articles on whistleblowers at FireDogLake.

Contrary to the administration’s claims this week, Gosztola writes in “The Obama Administration’s Propensity for Chilling News Sources” that: “The Obama administration has not maintained any kind of a reasonable balance. The framing by the administration, where it is suggested that freedom must be balanced against national security interests, is not only a false choice but also a tension sustained to give the administration cover as it expands and claims new powers.

“In exhibiting a disdain for the free flow of information, the administration has targeted a record number of alleged leakers or whistleblowers. It prosecuted former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who is now serving a 30-month jail sentence for providing the name of someone involved in the CIA’s rendition, detention & interrogation program to a reporter. It pursued former NSA employee Thomas Drake, who provided details on fraud, waste, abuse and illegality to a Baltimore Sun reporter. It put former FBI linguist Shamai Leibowitz in prison for 20 months for providing a ‘blogger’ documents on a possible Israeli strike on Iran.”

Gosztola also recently wrote “No Justification for Obama’s War on First Amendment,” for Salon which states: “Lawmakers have expressed outrage, but citizens should understand that they helped create the political climate for which the Justice Department would find it permissible to engage in this conduct. This is an inevitable result of leaks hysteria on Capitol Hill in June of last year.

“Recall, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Rep. Mike Rogers, Sen. John McCain, then-Sen. Joe Lieberman, Rep. Peter King and others urged the Justice Department to investigate ‘leaks’ on the Obama administration’s ‘kill list’ to reporters at the New York Times.”

And in “Holder’s Gutless Recusal & the Justice Department’s Seizure of AP Records,” Gosztola writes: “Holder recused himself early in the investigation into the leak and delegated authority to Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole, which means he would be the one in charge of deciding whether to subpoena records from press organizations. …

“Multiple representatives asked Holder if Cole could come before the committee to answer questions. Not surprisingly, Holder cautioned against this because he is the lead prosecutor in an ‘ongoing prosecution.’ So, who answers for this? Cole cannot. Holder won’t. Everyone below is not in a position to make official statements publicly. Everyone escapes accountability.”