Has President Obama become Dick Cheney? According to some journalists, the answer is yes.
The Obama Administration has gotten many in the press in an uproar after they issued a subpoena for journalist Jim Risen to reveal his source for a story he wrote about Iran development of their nuclear program. Risen is an investigative journalist for the New York Times who received a Pulitzer for his story uncovering the Bush Administration’s use of waterboarding as part of their interrogation techniques.
James Risen, a reporter for the New York Times was subpoenaed in the case against Jeffrey Sterling, who is awaiting trial for allegedly leaking classified information that Risen used in his book State of War. Justice Department policy requires that such request be approved by the attorney general, meaning that Eric Holder signed off on the filing.
Though the Bush administration never got Risen to reveal his sources, they slapped two subpoenas in an attempt to get him to talk. And though that Administration was criticized by a then Senator Obama for those efforts, President Obama’s own administration is attempting to do the same.
In an article in The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf criticizes the Obama Administration for issuing the subpoena against Risen saying:
(President Obama) once found obvious value in Risen’s investigative journalism. Its work that would’ve been impossible to produce without confidential sources and an ability to credibly promise that he’d never reveal their identities. But no matter. The Obama Administration is now demanding that Risen reveal his source for a 2006 scoop about CIA missteps in Iran. If he refuses to cooperate, which is his plan, he faces the possibility of jail time.
Somewhere, Dick Cheney is smiling.
While one could argue the Obama Administration is doing what is necessary to protect national security- that’s the same line that the Bush Administration was much maligned for.