Out of the three supposed Obama beltway scandals, the AP story is clearly the worst, but what I find laughable is how conservatives are now piling on the administration in defense of journalists' right to publish stories based on government leaks against what they perceive as national security concerns. You may recall how many times conservatives called for the heads of the NY Times and Washington Post for stories about secret prisons and extraordinary renditions during the Bush years as well FISA. They went ballistic against any story that came out which made George Bush look bad, no matter what it was about. Oh, those damn journalists are all out to get George Bush, etc..librul bias...etc..
During the general election, Joe Scarborough was one such right-wing pundit who was calling for action against these nasty national security leakers because Romney and his ilk were saying these leaks were an effort to make Obama look tough on terrorism. Hmmm, now watch how Joe flips out when David Axlerod calls him on his past behavior. See, they did actually take The Scar's advice.
The investigation into national security leaks should be easier to understand, because it involves no math. The investigation that lead to the subpoenas of the AP reporters is the very same investigation that was begun last summer after a few news cycles of campaign coverage were dedicated to the Romney campaign's accuations that the White House was leaking information that made it look tough on terrorism, including the AP's report that the CIA had foiled an underwear bomber in Yemen. After its publication there were calls for investigations from Dianne Feinstein and the Romney campaign to track down the people who leaked the CIA information to the AP. "It betrays our national interest. It compromises our men and women in the field. And it demands a full and prompt investigation by a special counsel, with explanation and consequence,"Romney said at the time.
Scarborough joined the chorus, grilling Axelrod last July, "So what's gone wrong? What's happened? Why is it leaking out of the White House and how can we stop it?" and seemed mollified after Axelrod said they would be scaring the dickens out of anyone who might consider giving an AP reporter a scoop: "Joe, there's an investigation going -- well, you stop it by sending strong signals. Strong signals have been sent."
A week after that discussion, The New York Times carried a story headlined "Inquiry Into U.S. Leaks Is Casting Chill Over Coverage." Reporter Scott Shane opened, "F.B.I. agents on a hunt for leakers have interviewed current and former high-level government officials from multiple agencies in recent weeks, casting a distinct chill over press coverage of national security issues as agencies decline routine interview requests and refuse to provide background briefings.
"The White House is now coming under fire for the the Justice Department's subpoenaing of the Associated Press's phone records that's drawing a strong reaction from members of the press and calls for heads to roll from Politico's anonymous sources. (And from John Boehner, too.) The investigation is (allegedly) looking into the possible whistleblower who handed over national security information for a story that came out last summer about Al Qaeda terrorists unknowingly handing a sophisticated underwear bomb over to the CIA. The very same story that prompted Joe Scarborough to call for an investigation into the course of the leaks -- and the very same story he was yelling at David Axelrod about Wednesday morning on Morning Joe.
Scarborough pressed Axelrod about the potential "chilling" of whistle-blowing sources over the Department of Justice's investigation into the AP. He was worried that whistle blowers may be hesitant to come forward with confidential information in the future. "I appeared with you, and you challenged me with the same tone, actually, on these leaks and said, 'When is the president going to send a strong signal to people that leaking classified information won’t be tolerated?'" Axelrod pointed out. "'When is is he going to make people accountable for these leaks?' [...] They’ve apparently interviewed 550 people and went to court and got a subpoena to do what they did. In order to do what you and others said should be done." Scarborough did not take kindly to Axelrod's memory of events, no sir:
When a Democratic President acts like a Republican, nothing ever good comes out of it. The AP phone records story is huge and would be an abuse of power by any administration, but hacks in Conservativeland do not have the right to complain over it since they have been pining for this type of pervers action for a long time. And the Obama administration did what they wanted him to. Peace out and Bennnnghazzzziiii!!!!