In testimony before congress General James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, labeled the journalists whom Edward Snowden worked with to blow the whistle on the NSA as “accomplices.” A term that makes those journalists legitimate targets for surveillance, if not worse.
Now the war on whistleblowers has expanded to include the press.
Clapper was publicly accusing journalists who publish Snowden documents of being “accomplices” in his “crimes”. That a top-level Obama official is publicly accusing journalists of criminality for their journalism seems like fairly big (though unsurprising) news.
Some of the surprise, such that it is, may come from the fact that Attorney General Eric Holder explicitly said the government would stop targeting journalists. Holder made his unequivocal promise in response to outrage over revelations that the Justice Department had named journalist James Rosen as a “co-conspirator” in legal documents. Holder said he would be issuing new guidelines and told Congress:
“The Department has not prosecuted, and as long as I’m attorney general, will not prosecute any reporter for doing his or her job,” Holder told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday.
DOJ’s goal, Holder said, is to “identify and prosecute government officials who jeopardize national security by violating their oaths, not to target members of the press or discourage them from carrying out their vital work.”
So journalists will not be prosecuted, but they may be targeted? Or is the national security state so far above the justice system, a state within a state, that they do whatever they want regardless of official policy as stated by duly appointed government officials?
Not an unreasonable question given that General Clapper straight up lied to Congress, under oath, and has not only faced no consequences but has remained in his job and is still briefing Congress. It seems President Obama is sending a clear message.