The Obama administration has a new strategy to stop the public-relations bleeding caused by Edward Snowden and other leakers of classified information: ban intelligence officials from acknowledging those leaks at all.
An April directive from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence prohibits both current and former employees and contractors from discussing news reports of those leaks in speeches, books, articles, or other writings, without first obtaining “prepublication” permission.
“Personnel must not use sourcing that comes from known leaks, or unauthorized disclosures of sensitive information,” reads the policy instruction, which was first reported by the Project on Government Secrecy’s Steven Aftergood. “The use of such information in a publication can confirm the validity of an unauthorized disclosure and cause further harm to national security.”
The broad but somewhat ambiguous order, which does not differentiate between leaks of classified or unclassified material, appears to additionally mandate that personnel are barred from participating in “open discussion venues such as forums, panels, round tables, and question and answer sessions” without first obtaining approval to do so.
The administration’s clampdown on discussing leaked information follows another recent policy decision requiring intelligence officials to earn permission before engaging in any communication with a journalist.
Officials are subject to “civil and administrative penalties” if they do not comply with the new policy.
The White House has faced on onslaught of criticism from media outlets and open-government activists, who say it is one of the most secretive administrations in U.S. history. It has prosecuted more officials in cases involving leaking classified material than all previous administrations combined.
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Instead of his usual stump speech, Bernie Sanders tonight threw his support behind Hillary Clinton, providing a clear contrast between Clinton and GOP nominee Donald Trump on the many issues he used to discuss in his campaign stump speeches. Sanders spoke glowingly about the presumptive Democratic nominee, lauding her work as first lady and as a strong advocate for women and the poor. “We need leadership in this country which will improve the lives of working families, the children, the elderly, the sick and the poor,” he said. “Hillary Clinton will make a great president, and I am proud to stand with her tonight."
In a stark contrast from Michelle Obama's uplifting speech, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke about the rigged system plaguing Americans before launching into a full-throated rebuke of GOP nominee Donald Trump. Trump is "a man who has never sacrificed anything for anyone," she claimed, before saying he "must never be president of the United States." She called him divisive and selfish, and said the American people won't accept his "hate-filled America." In addition to Trump, Warren went after the Republican Party as a whole. "To Republicans in Congress who said no, this November the American people are coming for you," she said.
"In this election, and every election, it's about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives," Michelle Obama said. "There is only one person who I trust with that responsibility … and that is our friend Hillary Clinton." In a personal and emotional speech, Michelle Obama spoke about the effect that angry oppositional rhetoric had on her children and how she chose to raise them. "When they go low, we go high," Obama said she told her children about dealing with bullies. Obama stayed mostly positive, but still offered a firm rebuke of Donald Trump, despite never once uttering his name. "The issues a president faces cannot be boiled down to 140 characters," she said.
Many Bernie Sanders delegates have spent much of the first day of the Democratic National Convention resisting unity, booing at mentions of Hillary Clinton and often chanting "Bernie! Bernie!" Well, one of the most outspoken Bernie Sanders supporters just told them to take a seat. "To the Bernie-or-bust people: You're being ridiculous," said comedian Sarah Silverman in a brief appearance at the Convention, minutes after saying that she would proudly support Hillary Clinton for president.
The Democratic National Committee issued a formal apology to Bernie Sanders today, after leaked emails showed staffers trying to sabotage his presidential bid. "On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic Party for the inexcusable remarks made over email," DNC officials said in the statement. "These comments do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process. The DNC does not—and will not—tolerate disrespectful language exhibited toward our candidates."