Leak ‘Inquiry’ Has Chilling Effect on Press Coverage of National Security

Agencies Decline Routine Interviews, Fearing Retaliation From Higher Ups

A sweeping FBI inquiry searching for “leakers” as well as ongoing Congressional debates over harsh new anti-leaking legislation have had a crippling effect on the media’s ability to cover issues of national security, as not only are the leaks drying up, even the routine explanations of policy are as well.

Once routine interview requests and inquiries seeking background information are now being declined, as officials fear that it could spark retaliation from higher ranking officials. A new Senate bill designed to reduce “leaks” would all but eliminate these background interviews.

Likewise, the long-standing official policy of having officials speak “on condition of anonymity” seems to be on the outs, with new demands that all “anonymous” officials be named to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and empowering the government to take away their pensions for such comments.

The Obama Administration had pledged to be one of the most transparent in American history, but instead has gone on a witchhunt against any and all leaks, citing “national security” for such moves. Former Gov. Mitt Romney, Obama’s opponent in the November elections, looks to be even more secretive, faulting Obama for even the limited disclosures he has allowed.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • Tom Mauel

    The self censorship by the main stream corporate press is already so complete. The Star Tribune in our area has not carried one story about Afghanistan in several weeks. This despite the fact that dozens of U.S. soldiers, and Afghan civilians, continue to die there each month.

  • Spying on and persecuting government employees for doing their job has created a culture of fear which now spreads far beyond just the national intelligence and security agencies. This Democracy Now story about the fate of those who reported on potentially lethal medical scanning machines should have made the headlines of every national newspaper in the US.. http://www.democracynow.org/2012/7/17/spying_on_s

  • Hanussen

    The rot of the US government now resembles that of the old USSR. Obama is the new Brezhnev.

  • curmudgeonvt

    Hmmm…I'm pretty sure a possible Romney Administration is not going to be happy disclosing ANYTHING to Congress much less identifying “anonymous” officials. I believe that a Romney Admin has no intention of being the least bit transparent so having to reveal “anonymous” officials is antithetical to the way they indicate they would run their business.

    In that mode, what is happening if unchecked will lead to a "Baghdad Bob" type of scenario where all "official" statements/clarification (if any) would come from one point of contact. Personally, I believe that the flow of information from the gov to the people would stop…You know, "…just trust us…we know what is best for you and the country…trust us…(or we'll investigate YOU, Mr. Anderson, and YOU won't really like that…"

  • MoT

    "Most transparent"? I'd say it's transparently clear that it's the most totalitarian administration and only seeks to become more so. And where in the hell are those dim bulbs who fell for his crap, shrug their shoulders, and STILL go along with it? Not saying the other rat is any better, he isn't, but c'mon!

  • Bruce Richardson

    The curtailing of Constitutional protections doesn't concern Barack Obama or his nemisis who "never saw a Swiss bank account he couldn't learn to love," Romney. The reasons are obvious: they are the power in the land and therefore immune from investigation and or prosecution. The American state, as with the USSR, has evolved into a NKVD-era dictatorship. A state whereby growth can only be measured not with advances in the GDP but only in the areas of "national security" and politically-connected contractors in the war preparation business.

  • Tonyandoc

    As I've posted before, what does it tell us the people who hate our freedoms include members of Congress, the Administration and their bureaucrats?

  • deliaruhe

    This, together with all the other wars on your Bill of Rights — war on whistleblowers, collection and storage of every email, every phone conversation of North Americans, militarized police for apprehending and jailing street protesters, voter disenfranchisement, etc., etc. — is not unheard of in a country making the transition from republic to empire — in this case, corporate imperialism.

    As Chalmers Johnson told us in great detail, you can't be an empire abroad and a democracy at home. The Romans held out for a couple of decades before repression at home started becoming obvious. And you've already had the experience of "barbarians at the gate" in the form of what you call "illegal aliens" — Mexican farmers dispossessed by globalism and US farm subsidies willing to risk sneaking across the border to work for less than minimum wage.

    What is the US gonna do when the refugees of global warming start hammering at the gate? (Come to think of it, what is Canada gonna do when American refugees of global warming kit up with your muscle-bound military and march into a slightly more livable Canada?)