There is a need to take the right courses of action when it comes to national security. Protecting the lives of Americans is arguably the most important job of the government and should definitely take a priority over nearly every impediment. However, there was a wisdom written into the Constitution that is so solid, so relevant today and for the foreseeable future that it must not be trampled upon for any reason including being pushed aside by the shield of national security.
A free press is comprised of two components. On one side, journalists have a responsibility to report what they find and to inform the population about what’s going on in the world. This seems to be the focus of the outrage currently being tossed at the Justice Department over the phone records they grabbed.
The rights and privacy of the journalists have been trampled upon and this is a serious issue, but it’s the lesser of the two evils that have been perpetrated.
The other component of a free press is the source. The people who are willing to talk to the press about what is going on in our world are a necessary part of a free press and the fact that they have been exposed to the government is much more damaging than anything done to the journalists themselves.
“Officials that would normally talk to us and people we talk to in the normal course of news-gathering are already saying to us that they’re a little reluctant to talk to us,” Pruitt said. “They fear that they will be monitored by the government.”
This is a big problem. It means that the truth is going to be held. It means that sources with important information are going to be reluctant to tell anyone for fear that they are going to be exposed. Nobody likes to be secretly monitored and the DoJ has shown that they’re going to go after those who leak information. The press, for their part, have done a pretty good job at releasing information at the appropriate time. They’ve been responsible in most cases; the leak that led to this investigation in the first place was done in response to a leak in which the story was held until after an operation was complete.
If you had access to information that could lead to a hot story, particularly one that would be considered “dirt” against the US government, would you be willing to tell anyone? Could you trust that your anonymity would be maintained? No. The sources are already drying up. The truth is being suppressed. Anyone who believes that this wasn’t the intention is not paying attention to the trends.
This happened at the right time for the wrong reasons. It was released at a time when there’s so much happening in the news against the current administration from Benghazi to the IRS conservative targeting that there’s no reason to believe this wasn’t planned. They wanted to be caught. They wanted it to happen right now. This is such a clear case of spinning, but few seem willing to see it. This isn’t a black eye on the DoJ or the administration. This is a warning to those who would consider leaking the truth that they’re not safe, they’re being monitored, and they will be dealt with harshly.
This is a threat. Unfortunately, it worked.