The subject, at the start of the Presser, was Syria and journalists who have died and the many who risk their lives to report the truth about what is actually going on there. Carney gave the WH’s usual lip service to the two journalist’s slain and Tapper took that opportunity to rip into him about the Obama Administrations actions regarding whistleblowers and the hypocrisy we see coming out of the Obama White House. From the Yahoo writeup which was courtesy of an original post up at EmptyWheel:
Just as he did following the death of New York Times reporter Anthony Shadid in Syria, White House press secretary Jay Carney began his daily briefing by praising the work of Marie Colvin, the Sunday Times reporter who also was killed there on Wednesday.
Carney called their deaths “tragic,” and “a reminder of the incredible risks that journalists take … in order to bring the truth about what is happening in a country like Syria to those of us at home.”
But, Obama’s press secretary seemed unprepared for a hard line of questioning from ABC News senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper, who took issue with the administration’s applause of aggressive reporting abroad while trying to silence it at home in the United States.
Here’s a partial transcript of their exchange:
TAPPER: The White House keeps praising these journalists who are, who’ve been killed–
CARNEY: I don’t know about “keep.” I think–
TAPPER: You’ve done it, Vice President Biden did it in a statement. How does that square with the fact that this administration has been so aggressively trying to stop aggressive journalism in the United States by using the Espionage Act to take whistleblowers to court? You’re–currently I think that you’ve invoked it the sixth time, and before the Obama administration, it had only been used three times in history. You’re–this is the sixth time you’re suing a CIA officer for allegedly providing information in 2009 about CIA torture. Certainly that’s something that’s in the public interest of the United States. The administration is taking this person to court. There just seems to be disconnect here. You want aggressive journalism abroad; you just don’t want it in the United States.
CARNEY: Well, I would hesitate to speak to any particular case, for obvious reasons, and I would refer you to the Department of Justice for more on that. I think we absolutely honor and praise the bravery of reporters who are placing themselves in extremely dangerous situations in order to bring a story of oppression and brutality to the world. I think that is commendable, and it’s certainly worth noting by us. And as somebody who knew both Anthony and Marie, I particularly appreciate what they did to bring that story to the American people. I–as for other cases, again, without addressing any specific case, I think that there are issues here that involve highly sensitive classified information, and I think that, you know, those are–divulging or to–divulging that kind of information is a serious issue, and it always has been.
TAPPER: So the truth should come out abroad, it shouldn’t come out here?
CARNEY: Well, that’s not at all what I’m saying, Jake, and you know it’s not. Again, I can’t–specific–
TAPPER: That’s what the Justice Department’s doing.
CARNEY: Well, you’re making a judgment about a broad array of cases, and I can’t address those specifically.
TAPPER: It’s also the judgment that a lot of whistleblowers’ organizations and good government groups are making as well.
CARNEY: Not one that I’m going to make.
The GAP (GovtAccountabilityProject) also has a great piece up about this fuckery entitled, Note to White House’s Jay Carney: Get Your Facts Straight. This shit went down a couple of days ago, the 22nd, but is just now making the rounds on Media sites. I do love the title of the GAP’s piece and a short blurb from that writeup below:
White House Press Secretary had an almost unbelievably lame non-response when ABC’s Jake Tapper asked how the Obama Administration squared lauding freedom of the press and internet freedom abroad while engaging in a record-setting campaign to silence “leakers” a.k.a. sources a.k.a. whistleblowers.
Carney refused to answer the questions, referred Tapper to the Justice Department, and said “I’m not making the assumption” that the Espionage Act prosecutions suppress whistleblowers. The Justice Department is using the prosecutions for exactly that purpose. In the now-failed case against National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Thomas Drake, Justice Department prosecutor William Welch II requested a harsh sentence for Drake specifically to “send a message” to other Intelligence Community employees.
I really am tired of the lip service we get from Obama’s Press Secretary and his Administration in general when it comes to telling us the truth about what is going down in Syria and how Obama is going after whistleblowers harder than Bush43 ever did. Does it make all you Obama Apologists feel warm and fuzzy about ‘your guy’? Does it make you just want to run out and vote en mass for this man?
I fucking hope not. It makes me sick to my stomach at their hypocrisy when it comes to whistleblowers and the press that has the balls to report on the truth’s they have to tell us.. Again, from the GAP piece:
Meanwhile, back in the U.S. the Justice Department is doggedly pursuing Espionage Act prosecutions against whistleblowers, thereby labeling them spies and traitors. Not to mention the State Department’s retaliation against author Peter Van Buren.
The fuckery is unbelievable for me. That Carney can stand up there and lie with a straight face just slays the shit out of me.
Carney used that favorite government phrase: involve highly sensitive classified information to cover his worthless ass during the give and take w/Tapper on going after whistleblowers. They fucking hide behind it every chance they get. The GAP piece takes them to task for their bullshit on this issue in their writeup and I highly suggest reading it all, as well as EmptyWheel’s take on it too.
Because it’s the shit that goes largely unsaid by Corporate Media types like Jake Tapper. I tip my hat to him for even taking Carney on w/regard to this issue. A short blurb of EmptyWheel’s pov on the whistleblower bullshit which was not covered in the Yahoo piece and shows how hard Obama’s DOJ is going after these folks:
Lastly, and this is not a criticism in the least, because I think it is fairly clear Jake tapped Carney out about as far as he could in the exchange today, but I would like to see him, or another reporter, go back at Carney on not just the Obama Administration’s attack on leakers, but the pernicious and chilling attacks on the press themselves. It is an easy out for Carney to say he cannot talk about defendants and cases, but he can sure be questioned about the consistent policy of chilling reporters such as Jim Risen and Siobhan Gorman.
If you really want to show the hypocrisy, there is the story that is not emphasized enough. The Bush DOJ had subpoenaed Risen in the Sterling matter for the grand jury phase, but dropped it when he moved to quash. The Obama Administration, once again going to extremes even the much maligned Bush/Cheney one would not, reinstated the effort to haul Risen in front of a grand jury on Sterling and break his source protection. Judge Leonie Brinkema quashed the effort rather sharply.
But the DOJ has now gone after Risen a third time in their effort to squelch the ability of reporters to interact with sources, and protect the relationship. Even after Brinkema granted limited questioning of Risen at trial, that was not enough, the DOJ has appealed to get more. The thing is, the government does not need more from Risen to try Jeffrey Sterling, and that finding was made and supported well by Judge Brinkema. It is gratuitous and meant to chill the press, not just leakers. It is not just me saying that, it is a coalition of 29 news organizations, including ABC News.
Because it’s not just the whistleblowers Obama’s DOJ is going after like I said above, its the media itself for reporting on what the whistleblowers have to say/leak. So much for the transparency he promised us in 2008 eh?
So tell me again Obama Apologists..how Obama is so much better than Bush43 or the GOP in general on specfic issues…because he isn’t. On so many things/issues he is far worse and you can not convince me otherwise, especially after reading and researching their bullshit and hypocrisy on this issue for this post. Check out this fact, written by the NYT last summer,on Obama’s record when it comes to whistleblowers trying to get the truth out to us via the press:
In 17 months in office, President Obama has already outdone every previous president in pursuing leak prosecutions. His administration has taken actions that might have provoked sharp political criticism for his predecessor, George W. Bush, who was often in public fights with the press.
17 months…that was all that was taken into account when the NYT wrote up that piece. How disgusting is that? It reminds me of Obama’s record of deporting more people in three years than Bush43 did in EIGHT FUCKING YEARS.
But back to this post. The deaths of Marie Colvin and Rémi Ochlik as well as the New York Times’ recently deceased, Anthony Shadid should be honored by the Obama administration, no doubt about it, as being an investigative journalist is now a dangerous way of life..but the WH hypocrisy should be called out as well. Ya did good Jake..thank you for your attempt to hold Obama and his henchman accountable.