Bush declares war on the press

Excerpts from a report written by Doug Thompson, founder of Capitol Hill Blue:

Using many of the questionable surveillance and monitoring techniques that brought both questions and criticism to his administration, President George W. Bush has launched a war against reporters who write stories unfavorable to his actions and is planning to prosecute journalists to make examples of them in his “war on terrorism.”

Bush recently directed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to use “whatever means at your disposal” to wiretap, follow, harass and investigate journalists who have published stories about the administration’s illegal use of warrantless wiretaps, use of faulty intelligence and anything else he deems “detrimental to the war on terror.”

As part of the investigation, the Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency are wiretapping reporters’ phones, following journalists on a daily basis, searching their homes and offices under a USA Patriot Act provision that allows “secret and undisclosed searches” and pouring over financial and travel records of hundreds of Washington-based reporters.

In addition to using the USA Patriot Act to pry into the lives of journalists, the Justice Department has also dusted off a pre-World War I law to prosecute people who receive classified information, although the law was aimed at military personnel not civilians.

“This is the first administration that I can remember, including Nixon’s, that said we need to think about a law that would put journalists who print national security things up in front of grand juries and put them in jail if they don’t reveal their sources,” says David Gergen, who served as President Regan’s director of communication and also worked in the Nixon and Ford White Houses.

Just how widespread, and uncontrolled, this latest government assault has become hit close to home last week when one of the FBI’s National Security Letters arrived at the company that hosts the servers for this web site, Capitol Hill Blue.

The letter demanded traffic data, payment records and other information about the web site along with information on me, the publisher.

Now that’s a problem. I own the company that hosts Capitol Hill Blue. So, in effect, the feds want me to turn over information on myself and not tell myself that I’m doing it. You’d think they’d know better.

I turned the letter over to my lawyer and told him to send the following message to the feds:

Click the headline for the full text of this deeply disturbing report and accompanying comments.

Among the many comments I found this further statement from Doug Thompson:

For those with concerns, please understand that we WILL NOT provide the federal government with ANY information regarding this website, those who visit it, or how we obtain the information we publish. We will fight this infringement on freedom of the press with all the resources I have at my disposal.

Needless to say, he has my full support.

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