Obama Officials Have a New Gag Rule on Discussing Snowden Leaks

The first rule of dealing with leaked secrets? Don’t talk about leaked secrets.

Supporters gather at a small rally in support of National Security Administration (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden in Manhattan's Union Square on June 10, 2013 in New York City. About 15 supporters attended the rally a day after Snowden's identity was revealed in the leak of the existence of NSA data mining operations.  
National Journal
Dustin Volz
May 9, 2014, 7:08 a.m.

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.

MOST READ
What We're Following See More »
BACKING OUT ON BERNIE
Trump Won’t Debate Sanders After All
3 days ago
THE LATEST

Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”

AKNOWLEDGING THE INEVITABLE
UAW: Time to Unite Behind Hillary
4 days ago
THE DETAILS

"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.

Source:
AP KEEPING COUNT
Trump Clinches Enough Delegates for the Nomination
4 days ago
THE LATEST

"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."

Source:
TRUMP FLOATED IDEA ON JIMMY KIMMEL’S SHOW
Trump/Sanders Debate Before California Primary?
4 days ago
THE LATEST
CAMPAIGNS INJECTED NEW AD MONEY
California: It’s Not Over Yet
4 days ago
THE LATEST

"Clinton and Bernie Sanders "are now devoting additional money to television advertising. A day after Sanders announced a new ad buy of less than $2 million in the state, Clinton announced her own television campaign. Ads featuring actor Morgan Freeman as well as labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta will air beginning on Fridayin Fresno, Sacramento, and Los Angeles media markets. Some ads will also target Latino voters and Asian American voters. The total value of the buy is about six figures according to the Clinton campaign." Meanwhile, a new poll shows Sanders within the margin of error, trailing Clinton 44%-46%.

Source:
×