DOJ Officials Express An Interest In Prosecuting Leakers And Whistleblowers

from the taking-a-stand-against-accountability dept

We've already discussed a memo read by some FBI officials that supposedly was a record of an Oval Office conversation between former FBI Director James Comey and Donald Trump apparently contains the president asking after the possible prosecution of journalists for publishing leaks. Hearsay squared, but still in line with Trump's antagonistic relationship with free speech.

There's not much popular support for treating journalists like criminals just for doing their job, but there appears to be plenty of administrative support for the idea. Comey claimed he wouldn't go after journalists for publishing leaks -- something he said with one side of his mouth while redefining journalism to exclude Julian Assange and Wikileaks, which the DOJ is apparently considering pursuing charges against.

But that's not the extent of the new administration's Bullets For Messengers™ program. As Betsy Woodruff reports for The Daily Beast, the DOJ is looking to crack down on leaks, leakers, and -- given its inability/unwillingness to subject itself to accountability -- whistleblowers.

Under intense pressure from the White House, the Justice Department is prepared to aggressively prosecute government officials who leak classified information. Justice Department officials told The Daily Beast that targeting leakers will be a priority during Jeff Sessions’ time as attorney general—a posture that will hearten national security hawks, while concerning advocates of whistleblower protections.

“As the Attorney General has said, the Department of Justice takes unlawful leaks very seriously and those that engage in such activity should be held accountable,” an official told The Daily Beast.

Officials may not directly state they're going after whistleblowers, but the FBI and DOJ have never shied away from direct retaliation against those bringing complaints up through the proper channels. The Obama DOJ was particularly unfriendly to whistleblowers, which means many in the DOJ are already well-trained in the art of hunting down leakers.

This new DOJ also makes it clear it will only tolerate leaking it approves of.

“The fact that the president shared classified information with a foreign government official, in and of itself, is classified,” a former senior intelligence official told The Daily Beast. “So whoever was trying to burn him for thinking he’s doing something wrong actually is the only one that committed a crime here.”

The president possibly exposing an undercover ISIS source to Russian officials? Not a big deal. Someone talking to the press about it? Round up a grand jury! New DOJ boss Jeff Sessions is tough on crime -- all of it. He's just as unhappy as Trump that US press outlets continue to be fed inside info directly contradicting White House statements, stances, and tweets, often within minutes of the president or his press secretary opening their mouths.

“I expect we’ll get to the bottom of this,” Sessions replied. “This is not right. We’ve never seen this kind of leaking. It’s almost as if people think they have a right to violate the law, and this has got to end, and probably it will take some convictions to put an end to it.”

If there are internal memos related to the DOJ's full court press on leaking, expect it to be leaked. As tough as the DOJ may want to be on leakers and whistleblowers, a president who's failed to earn the respect and trust of so many of the people he supposedly leads only encourages the sort of behavior we're witnessing. No doubt the president and the DOJ would like to get some heads on pikes ASAP to staunch the bleeding, but there's no way this can be done without doing tremendous harm to legitimate whistleblowers and the very important individuals who could only be heard by operating outside a deliberately broken system.

Filed Under: doj, free speech, journalism, leaks, prosecution, whistleblowing


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  1. identicon
    Jordan Chandler, 25 May 2017 @ 3:54pm

    Legal Route

    Is there a legal route to whistleblowing where you simply inform people above you, or is that what results in the persecution by the government?

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

  2. icon
    Bergman (profile), 25 May 2017 @ 4:04pm

    Re: Legal Route

    Whistleblowing is the act of alerting people to criminal wrongdoing or unethical behavior through non-standard channels.

    Most of the recent major whistleblowers, including Snowden himself, took the non-official-channels route because they saw what happens when you try to go through official channels that are part of the conspiracy to commit the crime you want to report.

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

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2017 @ 4:07pm

    Lets get it out there right now, OBAMA sent a record number of Whistle blowers to jail. That was Obama so who cares!!!

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

  4. icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 25 May 2017 @ 4:35pm

    lets not forget that UK law enforcement is starting to withhold information as well, due to the US Govt officials releasing to the public people under UK criminal investigations.

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

  5. icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 25 May 2017 @ 4:44pm

    Re:

    We will never 'catch' a member of the Five Eyes community doing illegal things in their own country, as it is just as easy to get another member to do it for them. Each washes another's back, so to speak. And if one country is in fact guilty of doing illegal things, they will just claim they got the info from a 'partner', and with current and future levels of secrecy, how could we know?

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

  6. identicon
    bob, 25 May 2017 @ 4:45pm

    Re: what kind of leak are you leaking though.

    I see a difference though between that leak and the others, so far. Leaks exposing potentially unlawful behavior of government officials is good and healthy for a democracy to succeed. I can't see a purpose to leak intel of the bombing other than to just leak and potentially get a news story out first. The leaking of intel from the bombing should be stopped.

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

  7. identicon
    Thad, 25 May 2017 @ 4:52pm

    Re:

    Why "get it out there right now" when we already got it out there in the fucking article, you illiterate tool?

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

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2017 @ 4:55pm

    Re:

    You should try reading.

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

  9. icon
    Stan (profile), 25 May 2017 @ 4:56pm

    We the people

    Sessions replied. “... It’s almost as if people think they have a right to violate the law..." Or that citizens have a right to find out just who in the administration is lying to them and how often.

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

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2017 @ 5:16pm

    A lost nation

    This is exactly what the 1st Amendment is all about.

    People have a freedom of the press. National Security, State Secrets, or "classified" are no such barriers to this "right".

    It is a shame that so many Americans are so willing to give up liberty for the illusion of safety.

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

  11. icon
    Woadan (profile), 25 May 2017 @ 5:45pm

    “I expect we’ll get to the bottom of this,” Sessions replied. “This is not right. We’ve never seen this kind of leaking. It’s almost as if people think they have a right to violate the law, and this has got to end, and probably it will take some convictions to put an end to it.”

    It took "some convictions" to share the information Jeffy. Hopefully, in the end, the convictions might be yours, Trumps, and the whole rotten lot of you.

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

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2017 @ 6:16pm

    You mean just like Obama did in record numbers?

    It's great that people are finally waking up and calling this shit out, but sad that the same was ignored for 8 years just because the president was a democrat. Can we stop trying to gloss over history on Obama's behalf?

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

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2017 @ 6:21pm

    It’s almost as if people think they have a right to violate the law, and this has got to end, and probably it will take some convictions to put an end to it.”

    Is he talking about the leakers, the whitehouse staff, or the intelligence agencies?

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

  14. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    My_Name_Here, 25 May 2017 @ 6:24pm

    After Manning and Snowden, did you really expect the government to sit back and do nothing? I expected Tim Cushing to respond so childishly, of course. He can't stand authority.

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

  15. icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 25 May 2017 @ 6:35pm

    Re:

    We did, have a look. And while you are at it, you do realize that Obama is no longer in office, and that the world moves on. Some mistakes are inherent to power hungry politician, of whatever stripe.

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

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2017 @ 6:36pm

    Re: Re:

    Who knew reading was so difficult?

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

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2017 @ 6:38pm

    Re: We the people

    It's not a right, it is a responsibility

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

  18. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2017 @ 6:39pm

    Re:

    You won, get over it already.

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

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2017 @ 6:40pm

    Re:

    I thought he was talking about trump

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

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2017 @ 6:41pm

    Re:

    Dear Trump,
    If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.

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

  21. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2017 @ 6:42pm

    Funny they only want to go after certain leaks but not all of them, not even the worst ones - why? ... because they are hypocrites that's why.

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

  22. identicon
    Justice Is Blind, 25 May 2017 @ 6:55pm

    What, a world?

    In other words, they have no interest in prosecuting treason and criminal activities on a grand scale, but instead wish to prosecute those attempting to expose same, thereby making themselves treasonous criminals (under color of authority).

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

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2017 @ 9:25pm

    Re: Re:

    No, I didn't, and Obama made the angry tangerine even more dangerous by handing him massively expanded surveillance capabilities and executive power.

    I think both sides are bad for society, and so blinded by team loyalty and hero worship that all of you are incapable of seeing fault in your candidates.

    Nobody won anything. As long as democrats and republicans get to play ping pong with the country, nobody ever will.

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

  24. identicon
    Rick H, 25 May 2017 @ 9:29pm

    Leaking classified materials is not "just doing their jobs" and it is not "free speech".

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

  25. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 25 May 2017 @ 10:23pm

    Re: Legal Route

    That would be the often touted 'Proper channels', and history makes it really clear that the only thing it accomplishes is painting a huge target on your back, while ensuring that the problem you raised will be buried almost as deeply as your career.

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

  26. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2017 @ 10:29pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Agree, I am tired of the party sycophancy that goes on in America.

    It really is party first, nation and fellow citizens last.

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

  27. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2017 @ 10:37pm

    Re:

    If it is leaked to the press it is free speech issue.

    All governments have committed crimes against humanity under the guise of "its classified".

    The entire premise of the first is to allow people to talk about government AND/OR show to the world the governments bullshit and lies by providing that evidence to the press, without the specter or threat of criminal punishment.

    No government can exist "For the People, By the People" if it gets to keep secrets and parade people through a kangaroo court when they feel "wronged".

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

  28. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2017 @ 10:49pm

    Amazing number of folks here supporting selective enforcement of the law. Apparently we've given up on being a rule of law society and now it's the ends justify the means. People hate Trump so much they will forget and/or ignore the law as long as it's against him.

    Leaking classified information is illegal. Trump, like past Presidents, gets to decide what gets declassified because he's the commander in chief. It's his job, like it or not.

    Leaking classified information for the purpose of embarrassing or sabotaging an administration is equally as illegal as doing it for personal gain or as a treasonable act. The First Amendment does NOT give anyone the right to do so. Just like you can't yell "FIRE" in a crowded movie theater, a government official can't break the law and reveal classified information or allow it to be stored insecurely.

    Unless you are Hilliary Clinton, of course. Then it's ok to send it to a pedophile's laptop for safe keeping.

    It's ridiculous - the law applies to everyone equally regardless of political affiliation, race, social status, or wealth. Well, it SHOULD - but in today's world the main opinion seems to be "why should I follow the law if others don't have to? I just need to focus on what's best for me and work towards not getting caught, right?"

    Any time you cheer on a law breaker, try to remember that we all rely on the law every second of every day to keep this society functioning.

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

  29. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 25 May 2017 @ 10:54pm

    'Nothing is wrong when the president does it'

    “The fact that the president shared classified information with a foreign government official, in and of itself, is classified,” a former senior intelligence official told The Daily Beast. “So whoever was trying to burn him for thinking he’s doing something wrong actually is the only one that committed a crime here.”

    So the president giving classified information to foreign governments in order to stroke his own ego is not only acceptable for this individual the fact that it happened is secret and illegal to share.

    Why do I get the feeling that this individual likely thinks that Snowden and any other leaker of classified information(like say, that pest that exposed a torture program run by a government agency...) should have kept their mouths shut like good little cogs?

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

  30. identicon
    AC the Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2017 @ 10:58pm

    "If it is leaked to the press it is free speech issue."

    WRONG.

    Enforcing the law and catching and prosecuting the leaker has NOTHING to do with Free Speech. Now, if they started going after the press instead of the leaker (like Obama did) THEN it is a Free Speech issue.

    Don't confuse the issue by making up shit.

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

  31. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2017 @ 11:05pm

    Re:

    You mean the thing that was mentioned in this article and numerous articles on this website?

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

  32. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2017 @ 11:06pm

    Re:

    Oh, so this is what Hannity is doing on his vacation.

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

  33. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2017 @ 11:14pm

    "Why do I get the feeling that this individual likely thinks that Snowden and any other leaker of classified information(like say, that pest that exposed a torture program run by a government agency...) should have kept their mouths shut like good little cogs?"

    Don't be obtuse.

    Breaking the law is still breaking the law, regardless of the motivation. That's what trials are for, to determine guilt and assign punishment. If someone like Snowden is brave enough and willing to take the consequences of breaking the law to expose government misdeeds and wrong doing, he can choose to leak classified information and do so. If you want to criticize the law, that's valid. If you want to focus on the fact that he should never have been forced to make such a decision due to the failure of the government to acknowledge and protect whistleblowers, that's valid too. He did what he thought he had to do under the circumstances.

    It is still illegal tho. If you ignore that fact then you are proposing that anyone is justified to do the same thing for whatever reason they can come up with. That's anarchy.

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

  34. identicon
    David, 25 May 2017 @ 11:47pm

    Re: Legal Route

    The legal route to whistleblowing is akin to an extra door for vermin. Don't use it if you want to rat and live.

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

  35. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 26 May 2017 @ 12:23am

    Re:

    It's great that people are finally waking up and calling this shit out, but sad that the same was ignored for 8 years just because the president was a democrat. Can we stop trying to gloss over history on Obama's behalf?

    Um. Who are you claiming ignored this issue during the Obama Presidency? Because it better not be us.

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20141014/17395328832/obama-administration-has-put-media-leake rs-jail-nearly-50-times-as-long-as-all-other-administrations-history.shtml

    https://www.techdirt.com /articles/20130620/18182823551/obama-administration-has-declared-war-leakers-claims-any-leak-is-aidi ng-enemy.shtml

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130807/01005424091/victim-obamas-crackdown-whist leblowers-says-calling-leakers-spies-is-modern-day-mccarthyism.shtml

    https://www.techdirt.com/artic les/20130802/14032124047/its-dangerous-free-speech-when-we-confuse-leakers-with-spies.shtml

    https:/ /www.techdirt.com/articles/20130722/01430523882/architect-obamas-war-whistleblowers-its-good-to-hang -admiral-once-while-as-example.shtml

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110702/00451614941/latest- attempt-obama-administration-to-punish-whistleblowers.shtml

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20141 213/07013429424/irony-alert-doj-leaked-to-press-decision-not-to-force-reporter-james-risen-to-reveal -who-leaked-info-to-him.shtml

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20161022/06200835855/despite-admini strations-promises-most-government-transparency-still-work-whistleblowers-leakers.shtml

    https://www .techdirt.com/articles/20140812/17175128196/whistleblowers-should-be-allowed-public-accountability-d efense.shtml

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130514/17194923087/what-national-security-risk-evi dence-suggests-embarassment-drove-doj-spying-ap-phone-records.shtml

    And that's just the results on the first page of a quick search I did. There's a lot more where that came from. So don't go playing fucking partisan pattycake and pretending we didn't make the same claims about the previous administration. We're not that kind of site.

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

  36. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 12:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Party first? Surely you man campaign donations first, As for party first, isn't it just a convenient vehicle for carrying them into office?

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

  37. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 26 May 2017 @ 12:30am

    Re:

    Amazing number of folks here supporting selective enforcement of the law. Apparently we've given up on being a rule of law society and now it's the ends justify the means. People hate Trump so much they will forget and/or ignore the law as long as it's against him.

    Um, as noted in the comment above, we made the same complaints about Obama. This has nothing to do with whether we support the President or not. This has to do with the fundamental problem of going after whistleblowers.

    The First Amendment does NOT give anyone the right to do so. Just like you can't yell "FIRE" in a crowded movie theater, a government official can't break the law and reveal classified information or allow it to be stored insecurely.

    Oh. You're one of those poor saps who thinks you can't yell fire in a crowded theater. I have some unfortunate news for you:

    https://www.popehat.com/2012/09/19/three-generations-of-a-hackneyed-apologia-for-censorship-are -enough/

    Any time you cheer on a law breaker, try to remember that we all rely on the law every second of every day to keep this society functioning.

    So, were you for or against Wikileaks sharing the DNC and Podesta emails?

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

  38. identicon
    Dingledore the Mildly Uncomfortable When Seated, 26 May 2017 @ 3:57am

    Surely what they're also saying is...

    Anyone who reports on the DOJ/FBI/WH/etc leaking information is commiting a crime. So it's illegal to report on the government breaking the law.

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

  39. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 5:48am

    Re: Re:

    if one country is in fact guilty of doing illegal things, they will just claim they got the info from a 'partner', and with current and future levels of secrecy, how could we know?

    Which is why the populous should say: "We don't care where it came from, you used it, we don't like it. Jail for you."

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

  40. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 5:54am

    The big deal is the leakers leaking classified shit to reporters/public.
    Trump has the authority to disclose whatever the fuck he wants to whoever he wants, as part of his foreign policy.

    The leakers are undermining a democratically elected president and his ability to do his job. I'm gonna go ahead and call that treason.

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

  41. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 5:55am

    Re:

    So doing a public service in informing the public about the crimes that their rule makers commit, should be punished by the rules that said rule makers created?????

    I guess we have anarchy then. As that would effectively mean that with enough power, you'll never be guilty of anything, as you can just change the law to pardon yourself.

    Absolute adherence to the law, is not always the best course of action for any individual or society.

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

  42. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 6:12am

    Re:

    What ever would we do without you folks pointing out something that the rest of us were able to read ourselves?

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

  43. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 6:17am

    Re:

    Wow! Two of you!

    Thanks so much for again pointing out what we all read in the article! We certainly wouldn't have read it if you hadn't mentioned it.

    I'd say the more important issue is that Trump isn't reversing one of Obama's policies. I wonder how it feels for him to be advancing one of Obama's directives...

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

  44. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 6:20am

    Re:

    Leaking classified information is illegal.

    Let's run with that for a second...and let's assume it's some rogue White House staffers.

    Aren't those the people he hired? What does that say about his judgement?

    I find it comical that if it is someone close to the president, no one's getting pissed about the "extreme vetting" that obviously didn't happen.

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

  45. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 6:21am

    Re:

    What if they're people he hired?

    Then isn't he at best incompetent, or at least complicit?

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

  46. icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 26 May 2017 @ 6:28am

    Re: Re:

    Or knew for ages. Or has been mentioned at Techdirt, oh, i don't know... repeatedly for around 8 years.

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

  47. icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 26 May 2017 @ 6:30am

    Re: We the people

    Yeah, they are the only ones who are allowed to violate the law. Sheesh.

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

  48. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 6:41am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, whatever. Your one sided attack is indicative of bias and yet you claim none.

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

  49. icon
    Bamboo Harvester (profile), 26 May 2017 @ 6:47am

    Re:

    THANK YOU!

    The media is trying to equate Whistleblowing, the act of going outside proper channels to report a CRIME, with Leaking of Classified Materials, which is *treason*.

    The current crop seems to think that it's OK to leak anything they don't agree with.

    I've held clearances. The contract you have to sign to get a clearance, and every item you're read in on specifically states that you will be charged with Treason (capital T) if you violate the terms - which includes "leaking" to the press or anyone else.

    We haven't been prosecuting these "senior officials" the media is constantly "quoting", which is causing the problem to grow by leaps and bounds.

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

  50. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 6:52am

    Re:

    "remember that we all rely on the law every second of every day to keep this society functioning."

    Complete bullshit right here. Laws are put in place to maintain the existing class structure and to ensure that no lower classes are allowed to improve their living conditions.

    It is your responsibility to report violations of said law - do you disagree? Claiming you were "only following orders" does not cut the mustard. A good person would not sit idly by while some assholes run amok with their attempts to create a tin pot dictatorship.

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

  51. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 6:53am

    Re: Re:

    Classification of illegal activity does not make reporting of same illegal.

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

  52. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 6:57am

    Re:

    I was only following orders

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

  53. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 6:58am

    Re:

    "democratically elected president "

    Technically, this is incorrect

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

  54. identicon
    AC the Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 8:37am

    "So doing a public service in informing the public about the crimes that their rule makers commit, should be punished by the rules that said rule makers created?????"

    Yes.

    What you are missing is the fact that the wrong doing exposed should ALSO be punished, according to the law. That's uniform adherence to the law, not selective enforcement.

    I guess we have anarchy then. As that would effectively mean that with enough power, you'll never be guilty of anything, as you can just change the law to pardon yourself.

    No. Unless you are in the Socialist Paradise of Venezuela nobody can arbitrarily change the law without Congress and the Executive branch being involved. Oh, and the Judiciary has a say in determining if what they pass meets constitutional muster.

    A pardon is an executive branch mechanism for abrogating the punishment of an individual who has been found guilty and sentenced for a crime. Totally different topic - it only applies afterwards.

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

  55. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 8:54am

    Re: Re:

    You sure are a delicate flower. I was speaking generally.

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

  56. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 8:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Everyone who questions Obama is a Trump supporter"

    You don't see it, but you guys share a lot in common with Trump's blind supporters.

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

  57. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re:

    The world may move on, but many of Obama's policies will continue to haunt us for a very long time under Trump and whoever comes next. Presidents don't get to sit back and enjoy criticism free lives after leaving a legacy like he did.

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

  58. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 9:05am

    Re: Re:

    Democrats and republicans become one when it comes to surveillance, avoiding accountability, etc.

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

  59. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 9:11am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Adding to that..

    Techdirt was one of few outlets that did report on this stuff. However, if you tried pointing it out pretty much anywhere else, you'd immediately be facing a Trump-supporter style attack and downvote brigade from "democrats". That's what I was referring to.

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

  60. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 9:11am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I was speaking inaccurately.

    FTFY

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

  61. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 9:13am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Democrats and republicans become one

    Which begs the question as to why you'd specifically point out Obama, despite the information already being in the article.

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

  62. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 9:15am

    Re:

    Don't confuse the issue by making up shit.

    Don't confuse the thread by ignoring the "reply to this" button.

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

  63. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 10:54am

    Re:

    What you are missing is the fact that the wrong doing exposed should ALSO be punished, according to the law. That's uniform adherence to the law, not selective enforcement.

    Well bless your little heart, lol. This doesn't happen anymore, what are you going to do about it, citizen?

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

  64. identicon
    Thad, 26 May 2017 @ 11:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Techdirt was one of few outlets that did report on this stuff. However, if you tried pointing it out pretty much anywhere else, you'd immediately be facing a Trump-supporter style attack and downvote brigade from "democrats". That's what I was referring to.

    Then go complain about it pretty much anywhere else.

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

  65. identicon
    Thad, 26 May 2017 @ 11:19am

    Re: Re:

    Wow! Two of you!

    Or just the same idiot twice. It's always so hard to tell.

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

  66. identicon
    Thad, 26 May 2017 @ 11:22am

    Re:

    Now, if they started going after the press instead of the leaker (like Obama did) THEN it is a Free Speech issue.

    Yeah, and it's not like Trump has ever done anything to indicate that he'd go after the press. /s

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

  67. identicon
    Thad, 26 May 2017 @ 11:24am

    Re:

    The leakers are undermining a democratically elected president and his ability to do his job. I'm gonna go ahead and call that treason.

    ...you can call it whatever you want, but "undermining a democratically elected president and his ability to do his job" is not remotely the definition of treason.

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

  68. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 11:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    When someone claims to be non partisan but only rants against one side ....

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

  69. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 11:40am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "I was speaking generally"

    LOL - yeah, I'm sure you were - hypocrite

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

  70. identicon
    AC, 26 May 2017 @ 11:41am

    "Well bless your little heart, lol. This doesn't happen anymore, what are you going to do about it, citizen?"

    Use my single, solitary vote to express my opinion about how I think the country should be run, and who should do it. Just like you can. If enough people are disgusted by how things are in Washington, they'll vote for a change too.

    Oh. Wait. We did that, didn't we? Maybe there's more to this whole Trump getting elected thing than meets the eye...

    For better or worse, he's DIFFERENT. Just like Obama was. Community Organizer -> President and Business Mogul -> President. Two VERY different choices, to be sure, but neither of them represented the "same old thing". (Clinton or Bush)

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

  71. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 11:44am

    Re: Re:

    "I've held clearances"

    The first rule of Clearance Club is:

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

  72. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 11:52am

    Re: Re:

    Definitions?

    We doan-need no definitions!

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

  73. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 11:53am

    Re:

    What you are missing is the fact that those in power do wtf they want ... and punish those who resist.

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

  74. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 11:55am

    Re:

    Awwwww - poor baby - your candidate did not turn out the way you wanted, how sad - bigly sad.

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

  75. identicon
    AC, 26 May 2017 @ 11:58am

    Re: Re:

    "Oh. You're one of those poor saps who thinks you can't yell fire in a crowded theater. I have some unfortunate news for you:"

    Nothing at all in that article about a government employee disclosing classified information. Yelling fire in an crowded theater *isn't* protected by the first Amendment and neither is committing a crime by releasing classified information. You are the poor sap who seems to conflate having an opinion and being persecuted/prosecuted for it by the government(not happening in this case) and being a government employee and breaking the law by leaking classified information (which is).

    "So, were you for or against Wikileaks sharing the DNC and Podesta emails?"

    Kind of off topic (again, we're not talking about the press publishing leaked information - that IS covered by the First Amendment) but I'd have to say that I don't disapprove of publishing awful nasty crap being done behind the scenes by EITHER political party. I still think it's illegal for a government employee to leak, and it's certainly illegal for anyone to hack in and steal information. Snowden did the citizens of the US a favor too - but he's still guilty. Should he be punished? Different topic. That's what pardons are for.

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

  76. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 11:58am

    Full quote?

    “I expect we’ll get to the bottom of this,” Sessions replied. “This is not right. We’ve never seen this kind of leaking. It’s almost as if people think they have a right to violate the law, and this has got to end, and probably it will take some convictions to put an end to it. We're sick and tired of everyone finding out about all the shitty stuff we're doing.”

    I think the last sentence was missing from the quote in the article.

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

  77. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 12:00pm

    Re: Re:

    "Yeah, and it's not like Trump has ever done anything to indicate that he'd go after the press."

    Yep. He goes after the press ALL THE TIME. On Twitter, not with the DoJ.

    Can you see the difference?

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

  78. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re:

    "Awwwww - poor baby - your candidate did not turn out the way you wanted, how sad - bigly sad."

    Neither did yours, and he had two terms to do it.

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

  79. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Full quote?

    "I think the last sentence was missing from the quote in the article."

    I think you made that up...

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

  80. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 12:06pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You have no idea who my "candidate" was but that does not stop any assumptions - you what they say about assumptions....

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

  81. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Re:

    "Complete bullshit right here. Laws are put in place to maintain the existing class structure and to ensure that no lower classes are allowed to improve their living conditions."

    Really? Which laws would those be? Traffic laws? I can see how jaywalking being illegal is designed to keep the people down and out of the middle of the road, but other than that... wait! That one law that says you can't take other people's shit! Yeah, that's the one that's getting in the way, right?

    Spoken like a true socialist tho. Head down to Venezuela and let me know that works out for you - they're having a great time there!

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

  82. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 12:20pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Classification of illegal activity does not make reporting of same illegal."

    Yeah, it kind of does, depending on who it is reported to.

    If you follow the chain of command and report it up as a whistle-blower, it's not illegal. If you get punished for doing so, it's *probably* illegal for that to happen however. Realistically, that's what always happens, which is a huge problem with bureaucracies. Start punishing the people who punish whistle blowers to end that shit.

    Having said all that, if a government employee discloses classified information to the Press, or allows it to be disclosed by not practicing appropriate stewardship of it, then that's illegal.

    The Press reporting it after they receive the information is not illegal.

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

  83. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Re:

    "I was only following orders"

    That's a personal choice. Illegal orders are illegal and can be disputed. Legal orders can either be followed, or not followed.

    The consequences for doing one or the other are different, of course, and you can be punished for either, eventually.

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

  84. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 12:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Umm... didn't you do the same thing in the first place?

    "your candidate did not turn out the way you wanted"

    I'm ASSUMING that was your ASSUMPTION there...

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

  85. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Re:

    No, the rationalization about why they are breaking the law isn't the definition of treason.

    Breaking the law and disclosing classified information is the treasonous bit, by definition. WHY they do it is immaterial.

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

  86. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 12:47pm

    Re:

    Hypocrisy is not illegal.

    Having said that, selective enforcement of the law should be, but isn't either.

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

  87. identicon
    Thad, 26 May 2017 @ 1:21pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    On Twitter, not with the DoJ.

    No, just the FBI.

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

  88. identicon
    Thad, 26 May 2017 @ 1:22pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Breaking the law and disclosing classified information is the treasonous bit, by definition.

    Nope, still not the definition of treason.

    WHY they do it is immaterial.

    Did you seriously just suggest that motive is not relevant to the determination of a crime?

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

  89. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 1:33pm

    Re:

    Still not getting the "reply to this" link?

    Here's going for two....

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

  90. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 1:35pm

    Re:

    For better or worse, he's DIFFERENT.

    But I'm assuming if you were choosing a brain surgeon, for example, you wouldn't go with the guy who knows nothing about brain surgery just because he's different...

    Then again, I could be wrong.

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

  91. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 4:27pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I was unaware that criticizing government behavior was considered to be socialist. Learn something new every day.

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

  92. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 4:33pm

    Re: Re:

    The Point ---> . You ----> :D

    Yep, you missed it.

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

  93. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 4:34pm

    Re: Re:

    Thread Nazi is grumpy today, eh? Have a cookie. Relax, tomorrow everyone will do as you will them to and reply to this. Honest.

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

  94. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 4:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Hmm. Depends on the crime. Some are pretty clear cut, some aren't. Speeding or littering or leaking classified information on one side, murder/manslaughter/self defense on the other for example.

    It's usually pretty clear in how the law is written, or in the precidence in how it has been enforced if not. Or the Supreme Court gets to (eventually) decide if the lower courts don't agree.

    Of course, something being illegal and actually being charged for doing it is another topic altogether. Selective enforcement, to be precise.

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

  95. identicon
    Thad, 26 May 2017 @ 5:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Speeding or littering or leaking classified information

    Ah, classic comedy bit: list two things and then a third thing that's comically mismatched to the first two.

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

  96. identicon
    Thad, 26 May 2017 @ 5:33pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "I don't understand how to use the website I'm on; therefore you're a nazi." Welp, at least you imply the same impeccable logic to this post as you have to all the others.

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

  97. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 6:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No, he called you a socialist because you "Laws are put in place to maintain the existing class structure ...". You are a socialist. Class structure is an invention of socialism. In American, we have a free society, and laws to protect that free society. Break them at your peril. That's the point, dunce.

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

  98. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 6:20pm

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

    Thad, if you have an entire thought, why not express it fully? If you don't, why do you bother? Usually can string enough words together to express SOMETHING (stupid or not) - you feeling OK today?

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

  99. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 6:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Hey Thad, headache today? You are defending the use of the word Nazi in a debate? You're not the pink pussy hat guy that quoted Madonna about Nazis are you? Hard to remember the personalities around here - they kind of blend together in their nonsense.

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

  100. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 6:50pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    But there is only one Thad! Anything to say today Thad, other than your perception of your idiot self in others?

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

  101. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 6:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Thad, if you have a full and complete thought, express it. No one understands you, not even your foul-mouthed low character disgusting gang of socialists.

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

  102. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2017 @ 6:55pm

    Re: Re: Full quote?

    I think TechDirt is much better off defining itself as a comedy site. There are some funny things said here, some even worth remembering. If you just made it clear that this was a forum for buffoons to parade their ignorance in public for the amusement of others, you would probably end up in court less.

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

  103. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2017 @ 12:53am

    Re: Re:

    What you find comical is of interest to no one and nobody.

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

  104. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2017 @ 7:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Perhaps you have not thought this through sufficiently?

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

  105. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2017 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "he called you a socialist because" .. that is the go to term for anyone that disagrees with you, apparently about anything.

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

  106. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2017 @ 7:37am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I think he also encourages his followers to commit violent acts upon any perceived opponents.

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

  107. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2017 @ 7:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There is a slight difference between:
    1) not being able to vote for your chosen candidate
    and
    2) having your chosen candidate elected and then not do what was promised.

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

  108. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2017 @ 7:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Full quote?

    " forum for buffoons to parade their ignorance in public "

    Fox News is over there ----

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

  109. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2017 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Full quote?

    No, it's over here:

    http://www.hannity.com/articles/election-493995/real-indian-challenges-elizabeth-warren-to-1586 2862/

    Sean Hannity, with a story about the Inventor of Email. Wow. National news for the man you defamed. What does that tell you?

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

  110. icon
    Tanner Andrews (profile), 27 May 2017 @ 1:09pm

    Re: Re:

    with Leaking of Classified Materials, which is treason

    We may all be getting dumber just from being exposed to folks crying that leaking classified reports of government misdeeds is ``treason''. Treason is defined as (1) levying war against the country or (2) adhering, giving aid and comfort to the enemies.

    Exposing official crimes may make officials uncomfortable, but it does not appear to rise to the level of waging war.

    We may also be made a bit dumber by exposure to whoever came up with this silly ``markdown'' idea as some sort of unreliable replacement for HTML. Get used to it, being competent in the language of the web is so old-fashioned and stupid is the new orange spray-tan.

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

  111. icon
    The Wanderer (profile), 28 May 2017 @ 11:04am

    Re: Legal Route

    The proper way to do whistleblowing is to inform the people who have authority over the people who are committing and/or authorizing the wrongdoing, without letting those latter people know you're doing it.

    If you can do that by going through channels, then going through channels is the right thing to do.

    Otherwise, any method that gets the message through is potentially acceptable.

    In this case, the person who appears to be committing and/or authorizing the wrongdoing is the President of the United States of America, to whom everyone else in the executive branch of the government answers; the only people who have authority over him are the American people themselves, i.e., the public.

    As such, the only way to blow the whistle on wrondoing in the White House is to report it to the public - and the most effective way to do that is to go through the news media.

    (There's an argument to be made about reporting it to Congress instead, but given how many people in Congress support the President, that would arguably be tantamount to reporting it to some of the people who are authorizing or approving of the wrongdoing.)

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

  112. identicon
    Wendy Cockcroft, 30 May 2017 @ 6:03am

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

    Boys, boys, boys! Stop it.

    Socialists are indeed concerned with class and social inequalities per Dan Kervick and Noam Chomsky, two noted American Socialists.

    That said, "Socialist" is indeed the go-to term for people who don't accept right-wing talking points without question.

    Maybe we should leave class out of the discussion and start again. Or risk the word "socialist" being bandied about because the dog whistle "class" has been blown again. Sorry, AC @ 6:52am; you did rather give the game away, my friend.

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

  113. identicon
    Wendy Cockcroft, 30 May 2017 @ 7:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Thad is one of the more insightful posters here. That was uncalled-for.

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

  114. identicon
    Wendy Cockcroft, 30 May 2017 @ 7:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Full quote?

    I'm still waiting to hear about who else adopted EMAIL besides his college when he was fourteen. Nobody else appears to have adopted the program, ergo Shiva is not the father of email as we know it, but of a program called EMAIL that never left the confines of his college.

    RE: Hannity, the man is a conspiracy-mongering buffoon.

    RE: the challenge, is anybody paying attention?

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

  115. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2017 @ 10:51am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Thanks so much for your reply! I'll have a cookie and look forward to tomorrow then!

    That's what I love about the Internet. Commenters are in such a hurry to write something helpful :)

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

  116. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2017 @ 10:53am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Well then. I guess that means that.

    You're such a helpful little man!

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

  117. identicon
    Thad, 30 May 2017 @ 3:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But there is only one Thad!

    Er, yes, that's kind of the point of posting under a name instead of anonymously.

    Do you...do you not understand how names work?

    Anything to say today Thad, other than your perception of your idiot self in others?

    Nope, "my perception of my idiot self in others" is the only thing I intend to say today. How did you know?

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

  118. identicon
    Thad, 30 May 2017 @ 3:43pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    We may also be made a bit dumber by exposure to whoever came up with this silly ``markdown'' idea

    Hey, man, that's no way to speak of the dead.

    Get used to it, being competent in the language of the web is so old-fashioned

    Swartz had a point: HTML is needlessly verbose. It takes a hell of a lot less time to type ">" than "<blockquote></blockquote>", and Markdown has the advantage of leveraging plain-text formatting conventions that were already common in e-mail well before the Web took off.

    That's nothing against HTML (which has been my hobby for some 20 years and my livelihood for the past 4). But for simple comments-section formatting (paragraphs, bold/italic text, quotes) the full HTML tag set isn't exactly necessary.

    and stupid is the new orange spray-tan.

    Huh?

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

  119. identicon
    Thad, 30 May 2017 @ 3:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Class structure is an invention of socialism.

    I'm...pretty sure that if you spent five minutes studying history, you could find several examples of class systems that predated socialism.

    Here's some reading to get you started:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristocracy

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caste

    https://en.wi kipedia.org/wiki/Monarchy

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feudalism

    If Wikipedia is too much of a biased socialist Illuminati puppet site for your tastes, there are probably similar entries on Conservapedia.

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

  120. identicon
    Thad, 30 May 2017 @ 3:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Full quote?

    What does that tell you?

    That Shiva Ayyadurai is taken seriously by someone who believes in conspiracy theories so outlandish they've been disavowed by Fox News?

    What, he couldn't get Alex Jones?

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

  121. identicon
    Thad, 30 May 2017 @ 3:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Full quote?

    If you just made it clear that this was a forum for buffoons to parade their ignorance in public for the amusement of others

    So if I were to tell you that you stopped being amusing about four months ago, would you leave?

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


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