It’s a difficult thing balancing classified information with the public’s right to know in our constitutional republic, which is still an ongoing experiment in self-government.
But what is less difficult is knowing the difference between a legitimate government interest in maintaining secrecy versus secrecy for the sake of it or, worse, to hide wrongdoing that is harmful to our institutions.
Throughout Barack Obama’s presidency, in one instance after another, we watched him and his minions abuse their authority for blatant political purposes. For instance, Obama winked and nodded after it was discovered that IRS official Lois Lerner was targeting conservative and Tea Party groups before the 2012 election, delaying their tax-exempt status until it was too late for them to be effective. Ditto for spying on journalists; Obama allowed it to occur because a) it was a power play for him; and b) he wanted to know who was leaking damning information to the media.
When Donald Trump came into office, the Justice Department continued its Obama-era habit of snooping on reporters, but in his administration’s case, it was likely more due to self-preservation: Trump learned early on (through Obama’s spying on Trump’s campaign, among other examples) that the so-called “deep state” was a real thing after a series of media leaks about alleged statements and occurrences that weren’t even true.
But both of them are gone, and now it’s Joe Biden’s ship of state to captain — or, rather, the Obama-era sycophants who are loyal unto themselves. As they pick up the mantle of media spying, they added a twist: Media gag orders from the Justice Department so that outlets can’t even report that their First and Fourth Amendment rights are being violated mightily.
Washington News Today notes:
David McCraw, a lawyer for the Times, called the gag order unprecedented. McCraw clarified saying that there was no legal precedent for the gag order on the New York Times as part of a leak investigation, which is a stunning statement.
“Clearly, Google did the right thing, but it should never have come to this,” said Times’ executive editor Dean Baquet regarding Google’s refusal to turn over the Times emails to the Feds. “The Justice Department relentlessly pursued the identity of sources for coverage that was clearly in the public interest in the final 15 days of the Trump administration. And the Biden administration continued to pursue it. As I said before, it profoundly undermines press freedom.”
The New York Times adds:
The letters said the government had also acquired a court order to seize logs of their emails, but “no records were obtained,” providing no further details. But with the lifting of the gag order, Mr. McCraw said he had been freed to explain what had happened.
Prosecutors in the office of the United States attorney in Washington had obtained a sealed court order from a magistrate judge on Jan. 5 requiring Google to secretly turn over the information. But Google resisted, apparently demanding that The Times be told, as its contract with the company requires.
The Justice Department continued to press the request after the Biden administration took over, but in early March prosecutors relented and asked a judge to permit telling Mr. McCraw. But the disclosure to him came with a nondisclosure order preventing him from talking about it to other people.
Mr. McCraw said it was “stunning” to receive an email from Google telling him what was going on. At first, he said, he did not know who the prosecutor was, and because the matter was sealed, there were no court documents he could access about it.
Following a questionable election and more than a decade’s worth of mostly Democrat abuses of our institutions of government, is it any wonder more and more Americans are convinced there is no ‘fixing’ this broken system?