Despite a promise of transparency, President Barack Obama has run a secretive government that’s chilling the flow of information to reporters while it tries to channel its version of news through its own government media, according to a new report from a journalists’ group.
The report says the Obama administration has curbed the disclosure of government information, limited the use of the Freedom of Information Act, launched a program of internal surveillance to stop people from talking to reporters and conducted an unprecedented number of investigations of journalists.
The search for leaks, the report’s author said, is the most aggressive since President Richard Nixon.
“In the Obama administration’s Washington, government officials are increasingly afraid to talk to the press,” says the report by Leonard Downie Jr. for the Committee to Protect Journalists.
“There’s no question that sources are looking over their shoulders,” Michael Oreskes, a senior managing editor of The Associated Press, says in the report.
The AP is one of the news organizations that’s been investigated, its phone records used to find and prosecute a former FBI agent who pleaded guilty to revealing information about a foiled terrorist plot in Yemen.
Since Obama took office, his administration has conducted felony criminal prosecutions of six government employees plus two contractors, including Edward Snowden, whom it accused of leaking classified information to the media.
There’d been just three such prosecutions in U.S. history before Obama, the report notes.
“The administration’s war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration,” said Downie, who was an editor at The Washington Post when it investigated the Watergate scandal under Nixon.
“The 30 experienced Washington journalists at a variety of news organizations whom I interviewed for this report could not remember any precedent,” he added.
~ from Press Group: Obama Is Worst Since Nixon in Going After Leaks by Steven Thomma ~
All presidents are concerned with the kind of legacy they will leave. Consequently, I would guess that Obama is enraged that this group has compared him to Nixon! But if the shoe fits, you gotta wear it and this shoe fits snugly.
In fact, in some ways, one could say that Obama is worse than "Tricky Dick". Nixon, by most accounts, was a very insecure man who all throughout his political career thought people were out to get him. From a psychological standpoint, the man may have been certifiably paranoid. So, you could say that Nixon came by his need for secrecy naturally.
Obama doesn't come off as being this way at all. He exudes self-confidence. So, Obama's need for secrecy is different than Nixon's. I think he does it because he believes that he (and his cohorts) is better than the rest of us. Sort of like a king!