When it was first reported that the Department of Justice was illegally combing through the phone records of Associated Press offices and targeting journalists with secret subpoenas for their communication records, outrage erupted among free press advocates and journalism professionals.
Caught red-handed with the disclosures, Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder was forced to perform damage control, defending the practice against those who said it was a violation of key constitutional protections while saying that future safeguards would be put in place to censure overreach by the DOJ.
On Monday, however, a plea-agreement by a former FBI agent—who disclosed information about a terrorist plot in Yemen to the Associated Press and was discovered after the FBI secretly obtained access to the news agency’s phone records—shows that, despite the outrage behind the practice of wiretapping journalists, the man is now heading to prison for a lengthy term.
As the New York Times reports:
However, journalist and political activist Norman Solomon, in a column published on Common Dreams Tuesday morning, says the whole episode exposes how “profoundly despicable” the Obama’s attack on government whistleblowers has been. He writes:
In addition, Solomon points out the deep hypocrisy of claims by the federal prosecutor in charge of the case, who said the prosecution of Sachtleben demonstrates the government’s “deep resolve to hold accountable anyone who would violate their solemn duty to protect our nation’s secrets and to prevent future, potentially devastating leaks by those who would wantonly ignore their obligations to safeguard classified information.”
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