The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, now headed by former Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe, will not release documents about spying on U.S. journalists, according to a letter dated yesterday. In its response to a Freedom of Information Act request, ODNI claimed that it could not even admit or deny that the records exist because they would be classified.
In government-speak, that means, “The records exist, but we are not going to search for them because we really don’t want to release them.”
This should not surprise any followers of former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson, who filed a federal lawsuit alleging that government operatives hacked into her computers and electronic devices. In speeches, articles, and books, she has decried the relative passivity of U.S. journalists and media executives in the face of government hacking and spying on former Fox reporter James Rosen, herself, and others.
As a former journalist, I share Ms. Attkisson’s exasperation with the media’s reaction (or non-reaction) to government surveillance, although I am not surprised by it. If Richard Nixon had the means to intercept journalists’ communications in the 1970s, and journalists found out that he had done it, reporters and media execs would have been rioting in the streets. But if the Blessed Savior Obama was intercepting journalists’ phone calls and hacking their computers… well, he must have had a good reason.
Buffoons like CNN’s Jim Acosta are lauded for “bravery” for railing against President Trump on camera, but when the same media hacks learn that their Blessed Savior Obama used an Orwellian surveillance system against journalists, they bow their heads and say nothing.
It really is disgusting, almost like a rape fantasy for establishment journalists. I can imagine any number of hacks at CNN, MSNBC, or the New York Times who would be flattered if the Obama regime deemed them worthy of an intrusion.
Again, none of that surprises me. What does surprise me is Mr. Ratcliffe’s stonewalling. It is illegal for the CIA to conduct operations against U.S. citizens on U.S. soil. (Of course, that didn’t stop John Brennan from spying on the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee). Likewise, it is a crime for domestic agencies like the FBI to hack into journalists’ computers without a warrant.
For those reasons alone, ODNI cannot hide behind the veil of classification. Section 1.7 of Executive Order 13526 prohibits the use of classification for purposes of concealing government wrongdoing. And can anyone tell me with a straight face that ODNI is not trying to conceal government wrongdoing? [Continued on p. 2]