Few things illustrate how political elites exploit the rule of law as an instrument of power more vividly than the ongoing controversy over leaks. The same Obama administration that has waged an unprecedented prosecutorial war on whistleblowers (and, increasingly, investigative journalists) has itself continuously perpetrated serious leaks of classified information for the most base and self-interested goals. Low-levels leakers who disclose evidence of high-level wrongdoing are mercilessly punished by the Obama DOJ, while the high-level criminals they expose — and high-level leakers seeking to glorify the President — are aggressively shielded from all consequences. Meanwhile, leaks of classified information continue to be the prime currency for the same Washington media class that loves to heap scorn on people like Bradley Manning and Julian Assange. In sum, leaks of classified information are a heinous crime when done to embarrass or undermine those in power, but are noble and necessary when done to bolster them.In a bit of serendipity, I was planning to address a similar point based on a quote from Jack London's The Iron Heel (the next dystopian novel on my reading list). I'll save that quote for another post!
~ from Dianne Feinstein’s “Espionage” by Glenn Greenwald ~
While I share Greenwald's annoyance at the irony he writes of, it is not that surprising of a development. Government always has been very protective of its image and this is just as true whether we're speaking of democracies or dictatorships. It just happens to be all the more galling when the former starts acting like the latter!!
It is even more irritating when one considers candidate Barack Obama's stance on this subject. Before being elected president, he pledged to push for more, not less, transparency. Once in office, he has done a dramatic about face. The level of secrecy enshrined by the Obama administration now rivals that of his predecessor and it appears to grow worse by the day.