Even Barack Obama's cheerleaders are gagging at the latest news of spying on reporters. But will they also understand that this is just part of a much broader attack on freedom?
The president told Ohio State graduates three weeks ago to tune out those who warn that "tyranny is always lurking just around the corner." Since then — pardon our paranoia — the news has been thick with warnings.
First was the revelation that the Internal Revenue Service had been targeting conservative groups for extra scrutiny. Next came the news that the Department of Justice had seized two months of phone records at the Associated Press to track down leaks that led to a 2012 story about a foiled al-Qaida bombing plot.
Then it was revealed Justice not only spied on Fox News reporter James Rosen but also labeled him a "co-conspirator and/or aider and abettor" in an espionage case. His "crime" was cajoling a State Department source into giving him information — that is, reporting.
By this point, some of Obama's most loyal defenders are wondering if he's really the "fierce defender of the First Amendment" that his spokesman Jay Carney says he is. The New York Times declared that the administration "has moved beyond protecting government secrets to threatening fundamental freedoms of the press to gather news." Strong stuff, considering the source.
Even stronger is the judgment of James C. Goodale, the lawyer who represented the Times in the Pentagon Papers case. Goodale says the Rosen case "is a further example of how President Obama will surely pass President Richard Nixon as the worst president ever on issues of national security and press freedom."
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