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.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.