Once again, President George W. Obama has made it clear that he doesn't want nosey reporters poking around the inner workings of his administration.
Not that there are many nosey reporters left in this country. But that's another story.
The New Dubyah, taking essentially the same position as the original, has sent underlings to tell Congress to back off from legislation that could protect reporters from being imprisoned if they refuse to disclose confidential sources who leak material about national security. Or so at least reports the New York Times, quoting several unnamed leakers.
The congressional bill includes safeguards that would require prosecutors to exhaust other methods for finding the source of the information before subpoenaing a reporter, and would balance investigators’ interests with “the public interest in gathering news and maintaining the free flow of information.”
But under the administration’s proposal, such procedures would not apply to leaks of a matter deemed to cause “significant” harm to national security. Moreover, judges would be instructed to be deferential to executive branch assertions about whether a leak caused or was likely to cause such harm, the leakers told the Times.
The main Senate backers of the bill, Chuck Schumer of New York and Arlen Specter, the Republican-turned-Democrat from Pennsylvania, waxed wroth over the White House shenanigans. "Totally unacceptable," snorted Mr. Specter. Schumer said: “The White House’s opposition to the fundamental essence of this bill is an unexpected and significant setback." This suggests that Schumer actually believed the Obama campaign rhetoric about a transparent administration back when he was still Barrack.
Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for the new Dubyah, called the proposed changes appropriate and argued that the administration was making a significant concession by accepting any judicial review. He even cited the Original Dubyah's position that such review would be an incursion into executive power.
Plus ça change, plus c'est meme chose.