Agita is a word that New York Italians use. It means "heartburn," more or less.
Kevin Drum writing for Mother Jones, yesterday, took at stab at explaining Why the Government Went Ballistic Over the AP Leak. The piece refers back to an LA Times article that explains the damage done by the leak the AP reported. According to the LA Times, the information reported by the AP a year ago, gave the underwear bomb inventor, Ibrahim Nasiri, the heads up he needed to escape capture in Yemen.
Here’s the article that the AP published a year ago. It appeared in numerous newsapapers in the US and abroad on May 7 2012.
Note: Instead of attribution, the article relies on phrases like, “the Associated Press learned,” and “US officials said.” It also included language that explicitly spells out that it was reporting leaked information and its justification for doing so.
“The AP learned about the thwarted plot last week but agreed to White House and CIA requests not to publish it immediately because the sensitive intelligence operation was still under way. Once officials said those concerns were allayed, the AP decided to disclose the plot Monday despite requests from the Obama administration to wait for an official announcement Tuesday.”Clearly the federal government and the AP don't agree on what happened.
On May 16, 2012, a week after the AP reported the leaked information, the New York Times reported that the FBI director testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the matter.
WASHINGTON — The F.B.I. director told a Congressional committee on Wednesday that the authorities were investigating how information about a thwarted plot by Al Qaeda to detonate a bomb on an airliner bound for the United States was leaked to the news media.Regardless of political consequences. Right.
At a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the director, Robert S. Mueller III, said that the disclosure of the information about the plot, which was first reported by The Associated Press on May 7, compromised the United States’ operations against Al Qaeda.
Mr. Mueller said that such a leak threatens operations, “puts at risk the lives of sources, makes it much more difficult to recruit sources, and damages our relationships with our foreign partners.”
"Consequently, a leak like this is taken exceptionally seriously, and we will investigate thoroughly,” he added.
“Regardless of political consequences, I hope that you get to the bottom of it,” said Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, the ranking member of the committee.
A year ago the Republicans in Congress were screaming for a serious investigation. Now when they talk about the collection of the AP’s phone records, they say it shows a clear intention to intimidate whistleblowers and to obstruct the operation of a free press.
Last week in the House, Tom McClintock (R – CA), Randy Weber (R – TX), Jeff Fortenberry (R – NE), Joe Wilson (R – SC), and Ted Poe (R – TX) spoke about the tyrannical Obama government’s abuse of power without acknowledging the purpose of the investigation.
If they don’t like the way it was conducted, why don’t they suggest the proper method they would have used to identify the leaker?
It’s one thing if the Republicans want to play partisan games to score a point and only a fool would believe they give a fig about freedom of the press. They’re using a wedge to divide the left and that’s unforgivable.
At the heart of the matter is that most of the press is also telling the story without reference to the calls for an investigation a year ago, either. They reported on the AP leak and the resulting controversy in May and June 2012. They should know what they printed a year ago and they should have told the story truthfully from the moment that AP starting squawking about its phone records. But they didn’t. Some news outlets are filling in the back story but it’s too little, too late. They left room for members of Congress to go back to their districts and start beating the drum for impeachment based on half of a story.
The press isn’t in danger of losing its freedom. It gave up its freedom long ago. It’s a bit late to mourn over that loss.
Did the press exercise its freedom during the run up to the war in Iraq?
Did it warn that deregulation and a housing bubble might endanger the economy in 2007?
Did it inform citizens about the Affordable Care Act or did it devote its attention to tea partiers rampaging about death panels?
Did the press ever ask why the Republicans said Reagan proved deficits don’t matter while they ran up trillions in debt only to turn 180 degrees on Inauguration Day 2009 when they began a hysterical frenzy about spending?
Has it ever demanded an explanation why there was no trickle down and still the Republicans promote it even though it was one of the biggest con jobs in the history of the world?
Did it ever stand up to any Republican leader who repeated the lie that the President came to Washington with a supermajority of 60 in the Senate and could have done whatever he wanted?
Was the press outraged when Scott Olsen sustained a head injury at OWS on Oakland?
Did it raise a fuss when students at UC Davis were pepper sprayed in the face for expressing their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble?
Did the press speak out for an end to the extortion practiced by House Republicans who hold the threat of default over this country?
Oh there have been a few spotty efforts to let a bit of truth out of the bag now and then. For every Bill Moyers or Amy Goodman, there are 1,000 shills lying for business corporations. That’s the real problem. It’s not misguided loyalty to Obama. It’s that the press in America is an abject failure by itself.
Worry about the chilling effect? Millions of Americans have felt a chilling effect in one way or another for years now. Here’s how this works. It’s not that I don’t care about the Associated Press. I do care. I care as much about it, as it cares about me.
With all the toxicity of bitterness and cynicism I spilled, I feel a need to provide an antidote.
Music! The new Daft Punk CD is out Tuesday, officially.
This track features guests Nile Rodgers and Pharrell Williams and they own the first 2 ½ minutes, in a good way, until a more recognizable Daft Punk sound kicks in and takes over. No matter who you are you will give in to this at some point before the summer is over.
♪♫ We’ve come too far, to give up who we are . . . . ♪♫ ♪♫