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Originally published March 12 2015

Obama incarcerates whistleblowers at unprecedented rate - so much for 'transparency'

by J. D. Heyes

(NaturalNews) During his first campaign for president, then-Sen. Barack Obama said his would be "the most transparent" in the history of the country. Indeed, after he was elected to his first term, President Obama issued a memorandum to the federal bureaucracy which said, in part:

My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.


Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing. Information maintained by the Federal Government is a national asset. My Administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use.

While the president's proclamation makes for a good talking point, the reality is that "government transparency" is often forced, thanks to a combination of factors: whistleblowing government employees and contractors (like Edward Snowden) and an inquiring media. While the press has often given Obama a pass when it comes to key political fights, to be fair, there have been a number of occasions during his presidency when the Fourth Estate has actually done its duty and attempted to hold his government to account.

For that, the Fourth Estate has paid a chilling price: Obama's administration has spied on the media, stolen phone records and has even attempted to prosecute members of the media.

Transparency? Not so much

In fact, the Obama regime has made a habit of prosecuting whistleblowers in general -- more so than any prior administration. In 2011, the list was already long and, in some cases, distinguished.

As noted by a report last fall, the Obama Administration has prosecuted more national security "leakers" than all other presidencies combined, eight to three.

Gabe Rottman, legislative counsel for the ACLU's Washington office, went a step further. In a an October 2014 blog post, he noted:

Partially because of press freedom concerns, sentencing in media leak cases has historically been relatively light. Not so under President Obama. When it comes to sending these folks to jail, the Obama administration blows every other presidency combined out of the water -- by a lot.

By my count, the Obama administration has secured 526 months of prison time for national security leakers, versus only 24 months total jail time for everyone else since the American Revolution. It's important -- and telling -- to note that the bulk of that time is the 35 years in Fort Leavenworth handed down to Chelsea Manning.

As researched by Rottman, here is the list of pre-Obama national security prosecutions and sentences:

-- Daniel Ellsberg and Anthony Russo (1973): These men were prosecuted for leaking the Pentagon Papers, a report commissioned by then-Defense Secretary Robert McNamara that showed U.S. involvement in Indochina long before the Vietnam War. Government charges against them were dropped amid political scandal within the Nixon Administration.

-- Samuel Morison (1985): This Navy analyst sent pictures of the Soviet navy to Jane's Fighting Ships, which is a reference book of global warships. He was sentenced to 24 months but subsequently pardoned by President Clinton over CIA objections.

-- Larry Franklin (2005): This Pentagon analyst was charged with leaking Iran-related material to lobbyists working for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. He was sentenced to a halfway house and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.

And there is this: The Obama Administration has used the World War I-era Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers more than any previous administration.

Transparancy, Mr. President?


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