Secret Trials and Executions: Military Tribunals and the Threat to Democracy (Open Media Series)

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Lind, sentenced Manning to 35 years in prison. With credit for time served awaiting the trial and verdict, she could be eligible for parole in seven years. It was a long sentence for leaking classified information, as extensive as it was, to news media, rather than spying for a foreign government. The Manning case appears to have been another turning point.

They used the opportunity to explain why they thought much more needed to be done. He said he wanted to engage on this topic because that may be where we have some differences. He differentiated these leaks from those whistle-blowers exposing a contractor getting paid for work they are not performing.

Dalglish told me there was a follow-up meeting at the White House in June , with national security journalists and lawyers from the director of national intelligence, CIA, FBI and the Pentagon. But they made little progress. On October 7, , the Obama White House launched an ambitious new effort to curb leaks.

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The Obama Administration and the Press

Meanwhile, the administration launched another Espionage Act prosecution. Kiriakou said he believed the measure was necessary, legal, and effective, but probably constituted torture that should not be used again. Shane told me that Kiriakou had showed him a non-CIA private business card for Martinez, whom Shane was trying to locate. A defense lawyer and a researcher, who had been targets of the inquiry, were eventually cleared of any illegality. Instead, the investigation turned into a criminal leaks case after investigators seized scores of e-mails between Kiriakou and journalists.

MEMRI | Middle East Media Research Institute

In return, the other charges, including three counts of violating the Espionage Act, were dropped. Kiriakou was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Kiriakou and his supporters characterized him as a patriotic, if self-promoting, whistle-blower who exposed abusive interrogation methods later condemned as torture, while none of the government officials responsible for them had been punished. Journalist and author Steve Coll, now dean of the Columbia School of Journalism, raised questions about the case in a New Yorker magazine article last April.

At the request of the White House and the CIA, the AP had held the story for five days to protect continuing aspects of the covert operation. After the AP story first appeared on its wire service, the White House spoke freely about it on the record, publicly congratulating the CIA.

Intelligence officials, however, were angry that the AP story and subsequent reporting had revealed their covert operation in Yemen.


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Sanger describing a covert operation code-named Olympic Games, in which a computer worm called Stuxnet, developed by the U. Sanger also detailed the operation in his book, Confront and Conceal , published at the same time. The Justice Department responded by opening aggressive investigations to find and prosecute the unnamed sources of both stories. The New York Times reported that federal prosecutors and the FBI questioned scores of officials throughout the government who had knowledge of either covert operation or who were identified in computer analyses of phone, text, and e-mail records as having any contact with the journalists involved.

As a result, he said, longtime sources would no longer talk to him. The director of national intelligence, James Clapper, announced on June 25, , his own internal steps to stem leaks. Employees of all 16 U. And the new inspector general for the Intelligence Community, with jurisdiction over all its agencies, would investigate leak cases that had not produced prosecutions by the Justice Department to determine what alternative action should be taken. A survey of government department and agencies this summer by the Washington bureau of the McClatchy newspapers found that they had wide latitude in defining what kinds of behavior constituted a threat.

Leaks to media are equated with espionage. In May of this year, two revelations of Justice Department tactics in the war on leaks caused already roiling tensions between news media and the Obama administration to boil over. The records included outgoing calls for the work and personal phone lines of individual reporters, for AP news bureau lines in New York, Washington, and Hartford, Conn.

House of Representatives. The Justice guidelines prescribed that such a subpoena should be used only a last resort in a federal investigation. By secretly serving the subpoena for the records directly on telephone companies without notifying the AP, the Justice Department avoided negotiations with the news agency or a court challenge over its broad scope. I can remember only one similar event during my 17 years as executive editor of The Washington Post.

Mueller III, formally apologized to me and to the executive editor of The New York Times for the unexplained secret seizure four years earlier of the phone records of our foreign correspondents working in Jakarta, Indonesia—because the Justice guidelines had been violated and no subpoena had been issued. But I recall a number of instances during several U. A week after the revelation of the secret seizure of AP telephone records, The Washington Post reported that the Justice Department had also secretly subpoenaed and seized telephone and e-mail records of the Fox News chief Washington correspondent, James Rosen, in the Espionage Act prosecution of Stephen Jin-Woo Kim.

They also used electronic security badge records to track the comings and goings of Rosen and Kim at the State Department. Although the secret subpoena was approved by Holder in May , it and the records seizure did not become known until court records were unsealed three years later.

Leak investigations and surveillance in post-9/11 America

With the Fox News search following the AP subpoenas, we now have evidence of a pattern of anti-media behavior. Two months later, after a series of Justice Department meetings with news executives, reporters, and media lawyers, Holder announced Obama-approved revisions to the Justice guidelines that somewhat narrowed the circumstances under which federal investigators could subpoena and seize communications records of news organizations or reporters.

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Media lawyers who negotiated with Justice welcomed the revisions to the guidelines as significant progress, despite remaining exceptions. The reactions of journalists were mixed. The guidelines worked pretty well until the Obama administration came in. On September 23, Justice announced that Donald J.


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Weeks before this announcement, a supporter of a federal shield law, Sen. Seizing phone records of journalists is in effect treating journalists as accomplices in committing crimes. Obama and Holder have both expressed support for congressional passage of a federal reporter shield law.

A potential sticking point for the shield law had been how Congress should define who is a journalist in this participatory digital media era. They are concerned about any restrictions on whose journalism would be protected. Armstrong said that, as a First Amendment absolutist, he opposes any congressional legislation governing the press.

Federal agencies can still investigate us. But others on the panel argued that a shield law would provide some needed protection from federal government interference for countless journalists covering other subjects across the country. On June 5, the Guardian and The Washington Post began publishing what became a steady stream of stories , documents , and exhibits from the large amount of highly classified information Snowden had given separately to Post reporter Barton Gellman and Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald.

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Snowden was connected to them by documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras , who was developing a documentary about U. He communicated with Gellman by encrypted e-mail and met secretly with Greenwald and Poitras in Hong Kong. Their stories revealed details of secret NSA operations that acquire, store, and search huge amounts of telephone call, text, and e-mail data from American telephone and Internet companies, under secret FISA court authorization, to find and track communications that might be tied to terrorist activity.

Not long after publication began in The Post and the Guardian , Snowden publicly identified himself as the source of their information. On June 21, the Justice Department unsealed a criminal complaint, filed a week earlier, charging Snowden with several violations of the Espionage Act.

Secret Trials and Executions Military Tribunals and the Threat to Democracy

The U. But Snowden eventually made his way from Hong Kong to Russia, where he was granted temporary asylum on August 1. Greenwald and Poitras worked on his stories and her documentary in Brazil, expressing concern about the U. Poitras, whose previous films were critical of U. Customs and Border Patrol when re-entering the country in recent years. At this writing, no connection has been established between the NSA surveillance programs and the many leak investigations being conducted by the Obama administration—but the surveillance has added to the fearful atmosphere surrounding contacts between American journalists and government sources.

Initiative of the Washington-based nonprofit IREX, which advocates for independent media and civil society internationally.

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