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Photo by Alex Menendez/ UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

After his 2009 inauguration, President Obama pledged to have his administration create an “unprecedented level of openness in government.” NY Times reporter James Risen said on Friday that the Obama Administration had “a de facto Official Secrets Act,”  and the media has been “too timid” in responding.

Risen was appearing on a panel as part of a conference called “Sources and Secrets at the Times Center.” According to the blog Poynter:

New York Times reporter James Risen, who is fighting an order that he testify in the trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer accused of leaking information to him, opened the conference earlier by saying the Obama administration is “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.” The administration wants to “narrow the field of national security reporting,” Risen said, to “create a path for accepted reporting.” Anyone journalist who exceeds those parameters, Risen said, “will be punished.” The administration’s aggressive prosecutions have created “a de facto Official Secrets Act,” Risen said, and the media has been “too timid” in responding.

Risen was joined by New Yorker staff writer and CNN commentator Jeffrey Toobin:

Toobin appeared on a panel that followed, moderated by Times Supreme Court reporter Adam Liptak, who announced that if he weren’t a paragon of journalistic detachment, he’d say “the persecution of James Risen is a scandal.” The attorney Laura Handman noted that the U.S. Department of Justice’s new guidelines for accessing journalists’ records carve out a big space for the government to decide what constitutes “ordinary newsgathering.”

This administration has been trashing our freedom since it was first inaugurated.  It is interesting that some of the same reporters who agree with Risen, trash Hobby Lobby for wanting the court to recognize its Freedom of Religion or fight gun owners Second Amendment rights.

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