Obama Administration Has Put Media Leakers In Jail For Nearly 50 Times As Long As All Other Administrations In History

from the ouch dept

We've been among those who have pointed out that the "most transparent administration in history," the Obama administration, has prosecuted media leakers more than all other Presidents in history combined (eight prosecutions in this administration, compared to three total in all previous administrations). Gabe Rottman, over at the ACLU, decided to dig into another stat: how much time has the Obama administration been able to lock up media leakers in jail compared to all other administrations. The answer? The Obama administration has put folks who leaked info to the media in jail for 526 months as compared to 24 months for all other Presidents combined. Admittedly, 420 of those months went to Chelsea Manning, but even if you take that out, we're still talking 106 months for other leakers in cases from this one administration vs. 24 months for all other administrations.

It once again has to make you wonder why the Obama Administration is so focused on punishing anyone who leaks information to the media (even as it likes to "unofficially" leak information all the time). In the end, I keep going back to the speculation I heard from Daniel Ellsberg nearly four years ago (which is also where I first heard the stat about the number of Obama prosecutions against leakers -- at that time, it was just five prosecutions, rather than eight).

Ellsberg's theory was that while President Bush abused the power of the Presidency in the surveillance realm, he was actually proud of it. And while people were upset about secrets leaking, they didn't find it embarrassing. President Obama, on the other hand, came into office claiming to be different -- arguing against those kinds of abuses and promising changes and protections for civil rights. Instead, it appears that the process started under President Bush continued and expanded under President Obama and -- Ellsberg speculated years ago -- the President is somewhat embarrassed by this, leading him and his administration to react negatively to the leaks. Not because of any legitimate security concern, but to try to silence those who seek to reveal that the administration and the President have not come close to living up to their ideals but rather went the other way entirely.

Putting those who leaked info to the media in jail for 526 months -- nearly 44 years -- says a lot about the way the administration truly views whistleblowing, and it's not a saying anything good.

Filed Under: chelsea manning, espionage act, free speech, leak prosecutions, leaks, obama administration, reporting, transparency, whistleblowing


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  • icon
    Dave Cortright (profile), 15 Oct 2014 @ 7:47am

    Reaction formation much?

    Another person's reaction to your actions say a lot more about them than you. It's a classic case of reaction formation.

    I am reminded of this NY Times article reporting on the empirical evidence that some of the most vocal anti-gay people out there are actually gay themselves and have not yet come to terms with that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2014 @ 7:24am

      Re: Reaction formation much?

      Even Lisa Simpson said that those who are homophobic are like gay themselves. And that was when the Simpsons were still a great essential show...(long while ago now).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2014 @ 9:37am

    Obama Administration Has Put Media Leakers In Jail For Nearly 50 Times As Long As All Other Administrations In History

    Followed, in the first paragraph by...\

    ...has put folks who leaked info to the media in jail for 526 months as compared to 24 months for all other Presidents combined. Admittedly, 420 of those months went to Chelsea Manning...

    Come the fuck on! If you can't even support the headline in the first paragraph of your story, you need to get thee back to school.

    I don't expect much of Techdirt, but this is just sad. Really?

    This is dumber than GamerGate.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2014 @ 9:44am

      Re:

      It pisses me off because I come here for info, and this is bullshit clickbait nonsense. I already ignored HuffPo and BuzzFeed today.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2014 @ 9:48am

      Re:

      How was Chelsea Manning not a whistleblower? Frankly, her sentence should very much be counted as part of the total, military justice system or not. She blew the whistle, she got charged and thrown in jail for a stupid amount of time.

      No, that she was subject to a parallel justice system instead of the civilian one that sentenced all the others shouldn't matter.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 15 Oct 2014 @ 9:58am

      Re:

      Come the fuck on! If you can't even support the headline in the first paragraph of your story, you need to get thee back to school.

      How is the title not supported? It's still absolutely true. We are pointing out some of the reasons, but it's true.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2014 @ 10:08am

        Re: Re:

        Perhaps because 24 times 50 is 1200. And 1200 is quite a bit larger than 526. A title claiming that the Obama admin has jailed media leakers over 20 times as much as all prior administrations combined would be more accurate. (Actual figure is 21.9)

        Although I have to admit that the Obama admin keeps reminding me of 1984. Especially the Ministry of Truth portion.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          saulgoode (profile), 15 Oct 2014 @ 10:14am

          Re: Re: Re:

          But if your read the linked article, only 10 months of jail time were served by leakers. The other 14 months were annulled by either presidential pardon or charges being dropped.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2014 @ 10:42am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            So there have been 500 months served so far under Obama?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              saulgoode (profile), 15 Oct 2014 @ 10:53am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              According to the linked article (I personally do not know the statistics), there have been that many months of jail time assessed by Obama's administration; and only 10 months of jail time assessed by all others.

              Based on this, the Techdirt title, "Obama Administration Has Put Media Leakers In Jail For Nearly 50 Times As Long As All Other Administrations In History", is accurate.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                AC, 15 Oct 2014 @ 11:43am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                If we want to be pedantic, 526 is more than 50 times 10, not nearly 50 times 10 (the implication being slightly less than).

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2014 @ 4:48pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                The administration does not assess jail time. That is something done by the judiciary. What the administration does do is decide whether or not to prosecute, and on this score the administration has been quite busy. To be fair, however, prior administrations did not face quite the same challenge as now where disclosure via the net is but a keystroke away, and becoming easier by the day.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2014 @ 12:23am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Bush's did, the internet didn't become part of most people's lives when twitter and facebook became "mandatory" (2009). That also brought another Eternal September 2.0 ...

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2014 @ 10:04am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Admittedly, 420 of those months went to Chelsea Manning, but even if you take that out, we're still talking 106 months for other leakers in cases from this one administration vs. 24 months for all other administrations.



                No chance of a presidential pardon during the next 324 months or so? So we are at about one tenth of the headline claim. 5.0 vs. 50. Someone made a decimal error.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Just Another Anonymous Troll, 15 Oct 2014 @ 11:23am

          Re: Re: Re:

          20 times or 50 times, that's major. After a certain point, it doesn't matter how big the number is so much that it is big. The point is that Obama has jailed leakers for a much longer time than every other administration combined.
          He said that he would be the most transparent, but I suppose there's no reason to trust a liar when he promises not to lie; after all he might be lying about that.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2014 @ 1:20pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            First measure of change is observed in small percentages and very often far too uncertain to mean anything.

            Next level of change is significant but less than 100 % increase. They are easily relatable and makes for interesting stories.

            Third level of change is measured in 1 to 5 times the original. Very large changes and hard to make really relatble.

            After that we are talking log10 numbers at which point the specific number is irrelevant. It is just a number (like when a professor almost always give leeway for calculation errors where only the separator is placed wrong. It is just a number, how you arrive at it is more important than what it specifically is...). The point should be obvious and/or trivial despite calculation errors.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2014 @ 10:00am

    They lie all the time. I really dont understand why would this be news.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2014 @ 1:18pm

      News vs News

      This is not lying, this is corruption of power. The boot-licking media is at fault for NOT holding this Administration accountable.

      "The Obama administration has used the Espionage Act to go after whistleblowers who leaked to journalists ... more than all previous administrations combined."
      -CNN host Jake Tapper in January

      In 2010, apparently for the first time ever, the Obama administration named a journalist in court documents as a probable "co-conspirator" in the release of government secrets, according to the Guardian.

      And last year, the Justice Department notified the Associated Press that it had seized records for more than 20 AP phone lines – something the president of AP condemned as "a massive and unprecedented intrusion.”

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Christenson, 15 Oct 2014 @ 10:02am

    Boss Tweed, Anyone?

    Obama resembles no one so much as Boss Tweed of the beginning of the 20th century....and heck yes, I am disappointed!

    TSA no fly list, NSA mass surveillance, FCC net neutrality, almost no bankers in jail, CIA renditions/kidnapping and drone murders, violent cops, and copyright and patent trolls! (Feel free to nominate more -- where the heck is DOJ in Ferguson and Hammond??)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      AC, 15 Oct 2014 @ 10:27am

      Re: Boss Tweed, Anyone?

      Don't worry about all that. According to Paul Krugman, Obama is one of the best Presidents ever.
      And in one respect, he's probably right, this is a top 50 administration, ALL TIME!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2014 @ 12:38pm

        Re: Re: Boss Tweed, Anyone?

        I can't agree with that statement. Yes he is a top 50 president to date. However to cover all time we also have to consider the unknown future and given enough time I'm betting he will drop out of the top 50. After all can the future get consistently worse?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2014 @ 12:33am

          Re: Re: Re: Boss Tweed, Anyone?

          He didn't bring you Single Payer Health System (bravo to Vermont and it experimenting with it as we speak though) that a large minority of Democratic reps actually want, but he brought you something way better than what you had before, He should go down in history for bringing you something similar to the Dutch system, which is another industrialized country.

          Now if he would bring you a social climate / Law through Executive Orders up the wazoo if needed, if the Democratics can't get the House back in this mid-term (and they most likey won't, hell, some alarmists are saying Dems might lose the Senate, which I very much doubt) that is like of the Netherlands, oh and a military's point of existence like that country too, you might actually get surplus like in the Clinton years again.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2014 @ 1:50pm

      Re: Boss Tweed, Anyone?

      yet you and millions others like you are not disappointed enough to do anything about it, so it continues unabashed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ehud Gavron (profile), 15 Oct 2014 @ 10:25am

    Typo

    "...not a saying anything good"

    True Italian English sterotype would have that as "not a saying anything a good."

    E

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2014 @ 10:26am

    what do you expect to happen when the Obama Administration is so heavily backed by the entertainment industries? almost everything they have asked for, the Administration has fallen over itself to give, just like Congress! there isn't even a single way to get compensation from those industries for doing wrong, because the law has been made so there can be no way to get it! that leads to the industries just doing whatever the hell they want with no bill to pay when they (purposefully) fuck things up!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      GEMont (profile), 19 Oct 2014 @ 5:31pm

      Re:

      Corporate owned Government is not a new thing in America.

      After World War Two ended, industries like Alcoa, Texaco, Bayer and others, were paid millions of dollars from American Tax Payers, to repay them for the damage done to their Germany-based factories by Allied bombing.

      Some of the top members of the American Top 500 companies are so Fascist based and Anti-American-Way, that they aided the Germans in WW2 by building their factories right in Germany, while still reaping the benefits of being American and supplying America's war effort as well.

      To a Fascist, War is simply the ultimate business model.

      For an interesting perspective on Fascism, Oil and Cannabis, read The "Elkhorn Manifesto".

      ---

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2014 @ 12:24pm

    If you think Obama's bad, just wait until the next guy gets in office, No way are we going back to what it was (not that it was any better) The US is heading down a road that gives our elected officials more and more power ,and not even an act of congress will be able to take back. the balls in our court now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2014 @ 2:37pm

    What a nigger dick.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2014 @ 4:31pm

    the most transparently corrupt administration

    Or how about the administration most likely to cause it's citizens to stage an open revolt against it's fascist tendancies

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    McCrea (profile), 15 Oct 2014 @ 9:36pm

    Well, how many were executed as traitors by predecessors?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 16 Oct 2014 @ 8:07am

      Re:

      It is extremely rare. The last time someone was executed for treason was the Rosenburgs in 1953.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2014 @ 12:37am

        Re: Re:

        All of this because when Leon Trotsky escaped Stalin to Canada, an RCMP officer kept an eye on him and found out through Trotsky that Stalin had installed a "large" (the size was greatly exagerated" spy alliance or whatever you want to call it in north america.

        Blame Canada


        (I'm Canadian)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 16 Oct 2014 @ 1:25am

    Well, and ashamed he should be

    Obama has been playing turncoat like someone inheriting the throne to the Ninja Mafia after great clamors of reform, and then figuring he'll make the best of the developed talent he got.

    Murder, fraud, interference with justice to the point of obliterating it, lies, blackmail, corruption, corruption, corruption.

    His presidency will be remembered like the papal reign of Alexander VI of the Borgia family.

    Unless the culmination is yet to come, of course.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 16 Oct 2014 @ 3:13pm

    Where's the outrage about this in the media?

    Why is there no mention of this in the mainstream media? Why are conservatives not getting outraged about this? Instead, we get outrage over non-scandals such as how the President didn't properly salute when he got off a helicopter or how he doesn't wear a lapel pin properly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    GEMont (profile), 17 Oct 2014 @ 5:32pm

    A dish best served cold...

    "Obama Administration Has Put Media Leakers In Jail For Nearly 50 Times As Long As All Other Administrations In History"

    As fascism slowly erodes the barriers against land piracy by the wealthy, you will see more and more of this kind of lawful retribution against the minions of the fascists in power, for what is seen as "traitorous behavior" by the ruling elite. Since they own the media, all employees are considered to be minions and are thus, also owned.

    To a Fascist, the paycheck given to minions demands total loyalty in return. An employee turning on his employer by disclosing criminal behavior, is seen by Fascists as the prime crime, worthy of the most severe punishment possible.

    The Mob uses the exact same process in dealing with their own members who "rat", for the exact same purpose.

    To send a message. "Squealers suffer badly!"

    Methinks you will see this kind of legalised revenge against turn-coat minions become standard policy as the Federal Government and its corporate owners becomes less and less democratic and more openly fascist, and the minions begin to realize they are working for the enemy.

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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