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Obama administration runs roughshod over our freedoms

May 14, 2013 - Andrea Johnson
The Obama administration appears to have meager respect for our liberties.

Yesterday we learned that the Justice Department, under the direction of Attorney General Eric Holder, ordered the seizure of phone records from Associated Press reporters. According to the AP, the phone record seizure might be related to the government trying to determine who leaked information to a reporter about a terrorist attack that was prevented, including CIA involvement in Yemen in Yemen. The AP ran a story on that operation on May 7, 2012.

According to the AP, the Department of Justice seized records from more than 20 phone lines in AP bureaus, affecting more than 100 journalists. The AP also seized home phone records and cell phone records for some journalists who work at the AP. This news broke during the same week that we learned that the IRS gave greater scrutiny to conservative political groups who applied for tax exempt status in the lead up to last year's Presidential election.

Both of these actions are completely unacceptable and should alarm anyone who is concerned with preserving his or her freedom. If the government can use such a broad interpretation of the law to demand phone records for so many reporters, what's to stop them from demanding your phone records under the thinnest of pretenses? Associated Press CEO Gary Pruitt claimed in a letter that the government has disregarded its own regulations, which require a subpoena for a reporter's phone records to be as "narrowly drawn as possible." That didn't happen in this case and there are probably a number of similar cases that we just don't know about right now. Likewise, the actions of the IRS appear politically motivated.

It really doesn't matter whether the administration in question is Republican or Democrat, since both parties are capable of the same egregious disregard for our freedoms. In these cases, it just happened to be a Democrat administration going after conservative groups. Next time around, it might be a Republican-dominated government going after the Democrats.

I think these people are in for a refresher course on what it really means to be an American.


Article Comments



May-19-13 8:06 PM

Americans are not supposed to ignore the constitutional rights of the press or of people speaking out politically. I do not expect my leaders to say, as Hillary Clinton did, that "it does not matter" who was responsible for the mess in Benghazi. I expect competence, respect for the rule of law and accountability when someone screws up from my leaders. If that sounds like someone on FOX News might say, so be it.


May-16-13 2:36 PM

Thanks for keeping us updated on these issues, Andrea.

And I appreciate your level-headed approach on this and other topics.

Have a great day


May-16-13 11:35 AM

I continue to have grave concerns about the Patriot Act and its threat to our civil liberties. The Bush Administration AND the Obama Administration, not to mention Congress, are responsible for any number of violations of civil liberties under that act, not limited to expanded use of phone taps and surveillance of e-mail/Internet use history surveillance, snooping in library records, etc.

During his testimony yesterday before Congress, Holder sounded evasive and attempted to place the blame on his second in command. There are also complaints about a lack of transparency regarding the IRS case and the Benghazi case.


May-15-13 12:36 PM

Unfortunately, I doubt that a Republican President would have been any better. Bush certainly practiced many of the same tactics. The problem is the system itself: corruption, too many debts owed to lobbyists for rich corporations, a total disregard for privacy or civil liberties.


May-15-13 11:49 AM

"Heads should roll" is obviously figurative, but I'm not interested in seeing them pick a convenient fall guy to take the blame for the people who are really responsible for these egregious actions either. There are a number of problems here, starting with the sheer arrogance of people in government who think they are above the law. It was a problem that also existed in the Bush administration and has probably been exacerbated by the Patriot Act and the many violations of civil liberties that have taken place in its name in the last 12 years.


May-15-13 11:45 AM

There is no case to be made, as far as I'm concerned. They went on a fishing expedition, in both cases, and invaded privacy without good cause, in many cases. Heads should roll.

The third scandal of the week is the matter of Benghazi. I smell a rotten fish there, as well.


May-14-13 7:47 PM

"...the actions of the IRS appear politically motivated."

My first thought? Yes.

However, I am willing to see the complete case made about the incidents, you know, the pros and cons of why the reporters' phone records were seized, why liberal groups were not scrutinized as carefully, etc.

I hope we see the cases made, clearly and thoroughly.


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