Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sharyl Attkisson Update

According to the Politico she's staying at CBS News--for now.   No word on whether they've determined who tapped into her computers (both home and work) but from the tone of her work--and columns like this..
The flipside of "Opening the Floodgates": When things look so bad that there's nothing you can do to coat it with sugar, and you don't want to talk to the reporter, just ignore his calls and requests. Taking lumps for not providing any information is better than telling the truth or even trying to spin it. Elected officials, public servants and government agencies increasingly employ this tactic. could literally be anyone.  But it sounds like you know who.

As to her leaving CBS for Fox News, personally I hope not. Going to Fox would get her more airtime but it might also allow her targets to trash her as a Faux News hack and diminish the reporting. She's more effective working inside the machine.  CBS has trended more towards the 'fair' side in their reporting in the past few years, so maybe she's having an impact.


While there is no news on Attkisson's snoop case there is news on the overall Obama investigation into leakers.  The New York Times, themselves a target of the new hardline approach to press freedom coming from Washington, explains this morning that this crackdown is basically Fox News' fault:
According to Mr. Blair, the effort got under way after Fox News reported in June 2009 that American intelligence had gleaned word from within North Korea of plans for an imminent nuclear test — a disclosure that eventually led to the indictment of Mr. Kim. The report infuriated the Central Intelligence Agency not only because it indicated that the United States was privy to the private discussions of North Korean leaders, but also because it was broadcast mere hours after a classified report with that information had been distributed to intelligence officials.
Blair is quoted in the story earlier of wanting to make an example out of somebody, like maybe an Admiral.

Of course there's some high hilarity in seeing the Times back-door cracking on Fox for leaking national security secrets after their Bush-era track record (including Pulitzers for several of their journalists and, well, Judy Miller) but then again, Fox excoriated the Times during Bush for the same.  Obama must have figured coming in the door that he had a free pass to go after right wing scaliwags leaking embarrassing things about his regime after Fox howled about it during Bush.  Indeed the story admits that Bush didn't dare spend political capital going after leakers (Times and WaPo, basically) because he was a Republican. 

The Paper of Record takes readers back over the recent history of leaks, mentioning Scooter Libby of course, but fails to mention Wen Ho Lee, whom the Clinton administration blamed for leaking nuke secrets from Los Alamos during the 90s based on confidential sources.  The Times and several other news orgs ended up sending Lee a  fat check for 1.6 millions to shut him up settle his lawsuit so they wouldn't have to reveal the Clintonites who passed the info.   Down the memory hole she goes. 

The Gray Lady's piece also mentioned the current leakgate issue with General Cartwright ("Obama's favorite general" according to Woodward), accused now of leaking about the Stuxnet program on Iran--to the Times--without mentioning any update on who might be suspected of leaking to the AP about the Yemeni AQ agent that resulted in the logging of 40 AP phone lines in Washington.

They did make mention of an appeals court ruling Friday that basically said reporters have no constitutional protections when it comes to their sources, which means their reporter James Risen may be compelled to go to jail for refusing to reveal his insiders on the Bush era. Surely they are prepared to cover that fight since it would provide another opportunity to re-live the evil days of BushCheneyBurton.

Lastly but not leastly, they have a separate story on "new rules" by the NSA to safeguard their dragnet of everyone's phone call logs, which strangely now seems to satisfy them, as evidenced by this quote:
“When the president first came on board, we had a huge set of mistakes that we were working through in 2009,” he told the audience. “He said essentially, ‘I can see the value of these, but how do we ensure that we get these within compliance and that everything is exactly right?' ” That suggested that Mr. Obama had questioned the execution of a program he had inherited from President George W. Bush, but satisfied himself by having the N.S.A. set up what the general called a “directorate of compliance,” an internal watchdog group.
Oh for the good ole days when they felt compelled to leak things like this for public good.  Give them credit for trying to cover those tracks by giving editorial space to those who ran the SWIFT banking program to reply.  Just keep in mind it was Edward Snowden, not the Times or Post, who exposed the complete dragnet of all US based calls. 

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