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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

 
Speaking truth to power

by digby

Michael Hastings:

He wasn't one to mince words or suffer fools gladly. Muckrakers tend to be like that. Here is his last column:
For most bigwig Democrats in Washington, D.C., the last 48 hours has delivered news of the worst kind — a flood of new information that has washed away any lingering doubts about where President Obama and his party stand on civil liberties, full stop. 
Glenn Greenwald’s exposure of the NSA’s massive domestic spy program has revealed the entire caste of current Democratic leaders as a gang of civil liberty opportunists, whose true passion, it seems, was in trolling George W. Bush for eight years on matters of national security. 
“Everyone should just calm down,” Senator Harry Reid said yesterday, inhaling slowly. 
That’s right: don’t panic. 
The very topic of Democratic two-facedness on civil liberties is one of the most important issues that Greenwald has covered. Many of those Dems — including the sitting President Barack Obama, Senator Carl Levin, and Sec. State John Kerry — have now become the stewards and enhancers of programs that appear to dwarf any of the spying scandals that broke during the Bush years, the very same scandals they used as wedge issues to win elections in the Congressional elections 2006 and the presidential primary of 2007-2008. Recall what Senator Levin told CNN in 2005, demanding to “urgently hold an inquiry” into what was supposedly President Bush’s domestic wiretap program. [...] 
Unsurprisingly, the White House has dug in, calling their North Korea-esque tools “essential” to stop terrorism, and loathe to give up the political edge they’ve seized for Democrats on national security issues under Obama’s leadership. The AP spying scandal — which the administration attempted to downplay at the time, even appointing Eric Holder to lead his own investigation into himself —was one of the unexpected consequences of one of two leak investigations that Obama ordered during the 2012 campaign. It’s unclear where a possible third leak investigation would lead. 
However, judging by the DOJ’s and FBI’s recent history, it would seem that any new leak case would involve obtaining the phone records of reporters at the Guardian, the Washington Post, employees at various agencies who would have had access to the leaked material, as well as politicians and staffers in Congress—records, we now can safely posit, they already have unchecked and full access to. In short: any so-called credible DOJ/FBI leak investigation, by its very nature, would have to involve the Obama administration invasively using the very surveillance and data techniques it is attempting to hide in order to snoop on a few Democratic Senators and more media outlets, including one based overseas.
I don't think even the horribly abrasive Glenn Greenwald could have been any more pointed in his criticism.

Hastings will be sorely missed.  There aren't enough courageous journalists like him around.

Update: This piece from Vanity Fair in 2010 called "Why the hacks hate Michael Hastings" is well worth reading.

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