First the Thomas Drake fiasco, when the big bad wolves of the Obama DOJ huffed and puffed and ....nothing. As noted by Glenn Greenwald:
"The effect of prosecuting Drake with multiple "espionage" counts, threatening him with decades in prison, and financially ruining him is clear: to frighten future whistleblowers into silence, and thus enable the government and the National Security State to do whatever it wants free of one of the only true checks it has. That's what makes Obama's War on Whistleblowing so pernicious."
"The second defeat Obama's whistleblower war suffered occurred in the prosecution of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, who -- like Drake -- allegedly leaked information that exposed serious ineptitude but entailed no national security harm. As I wrote about several times, the Obama DOJ was seeking to force New York Timees reporter James Risen (to whom Sterling is accused of leaking) to testify about his source. But yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema quashed the DOJ's subpoena, ruling in a decision (not yet public because it's now undergoing a classification review) that Risen need only testify to affirm the accuracy of what he wrote (which he had long ago offered to do).
These events demonstrate how legally baseless are the Obama DOJ's intimidation efforts, yet their rejection in court does not mean they have not succeeded. As I wrote about in the context of the Risen subpoena:
But for anyone who is engaged in meaningful dissent from and challenge to government officials -- the Jim Risens and other real investigative reporters, the Thomas Drakes and other whistleblowers, the WikiLeaks supporters, the Midwest peace activists -- these prosecutions and these ever-expanding surveillance, detention and even assassination powers are inevitably intimidating. Regardless of how those powers are used or even whether they are, they will, as Risen put it, have "a chilling effect" on the exercise of core freedoms.
Despite being largely vindicated, Thomas Drake's life was all but destroyed, while Jim Risen spent years facing the prospect that he'd have to go to prison in order not to reveal his source. That climate of fear aimed at those who expose government wrongdoing is the prime outcome, if not the prime goal, of the Obama administration's war on whistleblowers."
"This is an important victory for the First Amendment, and for the freedom of the press in the United States. Some people don't seem to understand the connection between the ability of journalists to protect their confidential sources and a free press. But if whistleblowers in government, in corporations, and elsewhere in society can be hounded and persecuted, and if the Justice Department is able to use its power to turn reporters into informants, then investigative journalism in America will surely wither and die. The First Amendment will have lost its meaning."
And you thought this shit was over when Rove and the neo-con pigs went we-we-we all the way home.