US Actually Has History of Being Weak on Leakers
And that's why it's cracking down so hard now
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2013 1:51 PM CDT
Updated Jul 21, 2013 1:54 PM CDT
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

(Newser) – With Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning in the headlines, the investigation into former top General James Cartwright, and now a court ruling earlier this week that a New York Times reporter must testify against a source, the Obama administration has been sending a message: leaking government secrets will not go unpunished. But it wasn't always this way, reports the New York Times. When Dennis Blair was appointed director of national intelligence in 2009, he was shocked to discover that in the previous four years, 153 cases of leaking had been reported to the Justice Department—but not a single one had resulted in a conviction.

This discovery is what triggered the aggressive crackdown on leakers we're currently seeing playing out in the media, reports the Times. "My background is in the Navy, and it is good to hang an admiral once in a while as an example to the others," says Blair, who left in 2010. "We were hoping to get somebody and make people realize that there are consequences to this and it needed to stop." But critics say things have gotten out of hand, as evidenced by the government seizing the phone records of AP and Fox News reporters. "I think it has gotten away from them," says a former national security employee of several administrations. "If the president doesn’t fix this, I think his claim that he understands the importance of balancing the First Amendment against claims of national security will lack any credibility."

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Showing 3 of 12 comments
Over the Road Steve
Jul 21, 2013 5:41 PM CDT
Good for Obama. Better late than never. Actually, Barry's foreign policy isn't that bad. Kind of like what Ron Paul always was pushing.
JackNelsonSteward
Jul 21, 2013 5:06 PM CDT
... also of taking a leak on the weaker ...
fred.lapides
Jul 21, 2013 4:58 PM CDT
ah, yes Jerry: all the folks working for NSA (how many thousands?) are liberals and that is the problem nd then there is this press wants to do what the press should and you support this but if the press prints stuff the govt does not want printed you get upset and blame the press or the libe4ral press, right? Now take Snowden. He was vetted for NSA and then got job at contractor ( right wing group by the way), and he claims he got discusted with what was going on that was in violation of 4th amendment. Now GOP types are also concerned with this violation, but you will once again blame the "liberals," a handhy catch alla for your arguements.