Today in Fascism News

Before there was Fox News…

Reliable Sources email thingie:

Former Senate staffer arrested in leak hunt

NYT reporter’s records were seized

The NYT’s Thursday evening headline: “Justice Dept. Seizes Times Reporter’s Email and Phone Records in Leak Investigation.

The investigation was pursuing James A. Wolfe, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s former director of security. Per the NYT, FBI agents approached reporter Ali Watkins“about a previous three-year romantic relationship she had with Mr. Wolfe, saying they were investigating unauthorized leaks.

On Thursday night Wolfe was indicted “on charges of lying to FBI investigators about repeated contacts with three reporters,” per CNN’s Laura Jarrett. “He is also alleged to have lied to the FBI about ‘providing two reporters with non-public information related to the matters occurring before the SSCI.”

Smith: “We are deeply troubled…”

As the NYT notes, the seizure of Watkins’ data “suggested that prosecutors under the Trump administration will continue the aggressive tactics employed under President Barack Obama.”

–> Smith previously worked at BuzzFeed. The site’s EIC Ben Smith tweeted: “This story concerns a reporter’s work @BuzzFeedNews. We are deeply troubled by what looks like a case of law enforcement interfering with a reporter’s constitutional right to gather information about her own government…”

I get it that all administrations want to stop leaks, and that leaks are generally speaking a crime. That said, I think that once any administration grabs a reporter, the reporter’s notes and in this case the reporter’s devices, that’s really bad. I mean bad for all of us, not just journalists or the one journalist in particular.

This will put a chill down the spine of anyone who is thinking about blowing a whistle, reporting something shady or unethical happening behind closed doors and smokescreens.

Things are about to get much, much, more opaque.

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One Response to Today in Fascism News

  1. Pyed says:

    There are certain ways that reporters might gather information which should be illegal — News of the World-style phone hacking is one, setting someone up for blackmailing is another. but pillow talk, cultivating office holders who try to influence the opposite (and same) sex, leakers, and paying attention to whistleblowers is as much a reporter’s job as trying to parse the pronouncements of business and political leaders or trying to explain poll numbers and other statistics.

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