Pat Buchannan’s column today looks at how government officials are breaking the law to “leak” sensitive information in order to damage the Trump administration, and asks the question — where does this all lead:
Before Trump departed D.C., The Washington Post ran transcripts of his phone conversations with the leaders of Mexico and Australia.
Even Obama administration veterans were stunned.
So, it is time to ask: If this city brings Trump down, will the rest of America rejoice?…
Our media preen and posture as the defenders of democracy, devoted to truth, who provide us round-the-clock protection from tyranny. But half the nation already sees the media as a propaganda arm of a liberal establishment that the people have rejected time and again.
Consider the (Washington) Post’s publication of the transcripts of Trump’s calls with Mexico’s president and Australia’s prime minister. The Post was letting itself be used by a leaker engaged in disloyal and possibly criminal misconduct. Yet the Post agreed to provide confidentiality and to hide the Trump-hater’s identity…
…there is a far larger story here, of which this Post piece is but an exhibit. It is the story of a concerted campaign, in which the anti-Trump media publish leaks, even criminal leaks, out of the FBI, CIA, NSA and NSC, to bring down a president whom the Beltway media and their deep-state collaborators both despise and wish to destroy...
The Justice Department is now running down the leaks, and the ACLU’s Ben Wizner is apoplectic: “Every American should be concerned about the Trump administration’s threat to step up its efforts against whistleblowers and journalists. A crackdown on leaks is a crackdown on the free press and on democracy.”
That’s one way to put it. Another is that some of these “whistleblowers” are political criminals who reject the verdict of the American electorate in 2016 and are out to overturn it. And the aforementioned “journalists” are their enablers and collaborators.
Read the entire piece here. Not every leak qualifies as “whistleblowing.” In fact, I’d say that most leaking in D.C. is done out of political motivation of some sort. True whistleblowing is the release of information a government, business or organization is holding back simply because it reveals wrongdoing. The classic case of this is, of course, the Pentagon Papers. The Supreme Court upheld the publishing of the papers because they clearly showed the Johnson administration had lied multiple times to the American people about the progress (or lack thereof) in Vietnam, and because revealing the contents posed no direct national security risk (only a political risk!). When such a concerted effort is being made to conceal the truth, going outside the system as a whistleblower can be justified. There are, of course, many other examples of people who took great personal risk to expose wrongdoing.
But that’s not what’s happening today. Nobody is claiming the release of presidential telephone transcripts reveals devious doings and attempted cover-up. In fact, most of the “leaks” are more like the National Enquirer’s gossip-mongering (“you won’t BELIEVE what Steve Bannon and H.R. McMaster said to each other today!”). It’s a scattershot rumor mill enabled by spineless weasels who put their vanity as an “unnamed source” to a reporter above their duty to the country. The ACLU has it all wrong here. Cracking down on leaks doesn’t threaten whistleblowing — it protects it from abuse. Protecting whistleblowing means bestowing that status only on courageous individuals who see clear, unaddressed wrongdoing in a failing system and literally blow the public whistle on it.
Speaking of failing systems, that now seems to include our entire crony-infested government bureaucracy. The public has a right to know a great many things, but their are legitimate reasons for the government to protect certain types of information. Those who abuse that trust need to go to jail, period (including Her Hillariness and Huma Abedin, among many others).
The corporate press is also a failing system. The Washington Post’s new motto is that “Democracy dies in darkness.” Fair enough. It can also be murdered in broad daylight by irresponsible officials working with reporters who simply want to delegitimize the last election because it didn’t go their way.
Because once the government is seen as completely and hopelessly illegitimate, it’s only a matter of time before the true “Resistance” begins. THAT’S where the road we’re on seems to be headed.