If you mosey on over to Rolling Stone's website, you'll see a link to an article by John Knefel on the magazine's list of their current, top-five political stories (it's on the bottom, righthand corner of their homepage): "What's at Stake When the Department of Justice Seizes AP Phone Records." All but two or three paragraphs of the story reference quotes and analysis from none other than Kossack Jesselyn Radack.
As some reading this may know, later today, I'm going to publish the last segment of a three-part series (here are the links to Part I and Part II) on the various reports and commentary about this complex and important topic; but, I'm interrupting that effort to bring this Rolling Stone piece to the community's attention. Along the way to concluding this series, yours truly has stumbled upon some "buried" facts about this story that strongly support Ms. Radack's analysis and commentary--to the point where I'd say her comments over at Rolling Stone are much closer to what I'd now describe as being very "prescient and factual," rather than just "analysis and commentary." But, more about that later on, today.
In the meantime, check this out...
What's at Stake When the Department of Justice Seizes AP Phone Records
'It's a crackdown on who controls information,' says one former DOJ employee
May 15, 2013 12:01 PM ET
This week, it was revealed that the Department of Justice secretly seized two months' worth of private phone records from Associated Press reporters and editors. As this decision comes under increasing scrutiny, press freedom advocates say it's just part of a larger battle for control of information – one that they've been trying to sound an alarm on for a long time.
"I've been saying for years that this is a backdoor way to go after journalists," says Jesselyn Radack, a former DOJ employee and whistleblower who is now director of national security and human rights at the Government Accountability Project.
The Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act of 1917 – a 96-year-old law that was written to target spies, not journalists' sources – than all previous administrations combined. Reporters (sometimes thinly anonymized as "Reporter A") often show up in these indictments, says Radack, a fact that she believes "should have been a wake-up call."
On Monday, the AP revealed that the phone records seized by the DOJ could bring over 100 employees who use those phone lines under the scope of the investigation – which appears to be focused on a single AP story, from May 7th, 2012. The story reported that the CIA disrupted an al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula plot to blow up an airliner, though it later came out that the plot was actually a sting set-up. In recently confirmed CIA director John Brennan's words, "We had inside control of the plot and the device was never a threat to the American public."
So why is the Obama administration targeting the reporters and editors who worked on this story – one that, by the CIA's own admission, didn't even involve an actual national security threat? "There's a broader war on [those who reveal] information," Radack says. "Whistleblowers, hackers, anyone who is dissenting. It's a crackdown on who controls information..."