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Obama and the 1917 Espionage Act (Michael Barone)
National Review Online ^ | May 27, 2013 | Michael Barone

Posted on 05/28/2013 6:13:35 PM PDT by neverdem

The president uses the overly broad and little-used WWI-era law to go after reporters.

There is one problem with the entirely justified if self-interested media squawking about the Justice Department’s snooping into the phone records of multiple Associated Press reporters and Fox News’s James Rosen.

The problem is that what the AP reporters and Rosen did arguably violates the letter of the law.

The search warrant in the Rosen case cites Section 793(d) of Title 18 of the U.S. Code. Section 793(d) says that a person lawfully in possession of information that the government has classified as secret who turns it over to someone not lawfully entitled to posses it has committed a crime. That might cover Rosen’s source.

Section 793(g) is a conspiracy count that says that anyone who conspires to help the source do that has committed the same crime. That would be the reporter.

It sounds as though this law criminalizes a lot of journalism. You might wonder how such a law ever got passed and why, for the last 90 years, it has very seldom produced prosecutions and investigations of journalists.

The answer: This is the Espionage Act of 1917, passed two months after the United States entered World War I. In his 1998 book Secrecy, the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan tells the story of how it came into being. Congress was responding to incidents of German espionage before the declaration of war. In July 1916, German agents blew up the Black Tom munitions dump in New York Harbor. The explosion was loud enough to be heard in Connecticut and Maryland. The Espionage Act was passed with bipartisan support in a Democratic Congress and strongly supported by President Woodrow Wilson, also a Democrat.

Wilson wanted even more. “Authority to exercise censorship over the press,” he wrote a senator, “is absolutely necessary.” He got that authority in May 1918 when Congress passed the Sedition Act, criminalizing, among other things, “abusive language” about the government.

Wilson’s Justice Department successfully prosecuted Eugene Debs, the Socialist candidate who received 900,000 votes for president in 1912, for making statements opposing the war. The Wilson administration barred Socialist newspapers from the mails, jailed a filmmaker for making a movie about the Revolutionary War (don’t rile our British allies), and prosecuted a minister who claimed Jesus was a pacifist. German-language books were removed from libraries, German-language newspapers were forced out of business, and one state banned speaking German outdoors.

It was an ugly period in our history. It’s also a reminder that big-government liberals can be as much inclined to suppress civil liberties as small-government conservatives can — or more so.

Fortunately, things changed after Wilson left office. A Republican Congress allowed the Sedition Act to expire in 1921. Debs received 915,000 votes for president in 1920 while in Atlanta federal prison, but President Warren Harding, a former journalist and a Republican, commuted Debs’s sentence to time served, effective Christmas day 1921, and invited him to the White House.

The Espionage Act of 1917 remained on the books and was amended to cover news media. But it was used sparingly. Franklin Roosevelt, who served in the Wilson administration, didn’t use it in World War II. When his attorney general urged him to prosecute the Chicago Tribune for a story three days before Pearl Harbor that detailed military plans for a possible world war, he brushed the recommendation aside. That despite the fact that New Deal Democrats were as paranoid about the Republican and isolationist Tribune as conservatives have been in recent times about the New York Times.

Roosevelt did order the internment of West Coast Japanese Americans in 1942. But an act apologizing for that and providing restitution was passed with bipartisan majorities and signed by Ronald Reagan in 1988.

Presidents and attorneys general of both parties have been reluctant to use the Espionage Act when secret information has been leaked to the press because they have recognized that it is overbroad. They have understood, as Moynihan argues in Secrecy, that government classifies far too many things as secrets, even as it has often failed to protect information that truly needs to stay secret.

Barack Obama and his Justice Department seem to be of a different mind. They have used the Espionage Act of 1917 six times to bring cases against government officials for leaks to the media — twice as many as all their predecessors combined.

“Gradually, over time,” Moynihan writes, “American government became careful about liberties.” Now, suddenly, it seems to be moving in the other direction.

― Michael Barone, senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor, and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. © 2013 The Washington Examiner


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 1917espionageact; ap; bhofascism; bigot; corruption; criminal; criminalpresident; democrats; doj; govtabuse; highcrimes; holder; obama; racist; rosen; threatmatrix; tyranny

1 posted on 05/28/2013 6:13:35 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: blueyon; LucyT; pax_et_bonum; autumnraine; maggief; Silentgypsy; thouworm; AllAmericanGirl44; ...
The obama administration and the law? Now you see it, now you don't.

Anyone wanting on or off this ping list, please advise. Thanks.


2 posted on 05/28/2013 6:18:32 PM PDT by MestaMachine
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To: neverdem
Wilson wanted even more. “Authority to exercise censorship over the press,” he wrote a senator, “is absolutely necessary.” He got that authority in May 1918 when Congress passed the Sedition Act, criminalizing, among other things, “abusive language” about the government.

In time, governments become more concerned with their own preservation than the lives of the citizens they were originally intended to protect.

3 posted on 05/28/2013 6:34:02 PM PDT by Flick Lives (We're going to be just like the old Soviet Union, but with free cell phones!)
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To: neverdem

THe Espionage Act could have been used against Tom Hayden/Jane Fonda and company for aiding the North Vietnamese during the war.Unfortunately Watergate wiped out a planned congressional hearing into their “Hanoi Lobby” activities on Capital Hill, especially after Congress learned of their trip to Paris in Oct. 1973 to get instructions for setting up the 1974-75 anti-aid lobbying campaign.

Hayden used the Coalition to Stop Funding the War to illegally use tax-exempt organizations, esp. churches, to funnel donations to the lobbying effort. He was never really called on it, though you will find some information on the Hanoi Lobby and Anti-Defense Lobby in the hearings of the House Ways & Means Committee hearings on revising the Lobbying Act, held in 1987, statement/report attached to the publication.

John Kerry should have been charged, as well as Hayden/Fonda/Dellinger, etc. under the 1798 Logan Act which forbids a private US citizen from “negotiating” with a foreign government (i.e. conducting foreign policy outside of the government).

A hearing on this, or a trial, would have opened up the can of worms of the Hanoi Lobby and how it operated throughout the world and thru Hayden’s group, PCPJ, New Mobe, Women Strike for Peace, World Peace Council and Vietnam Veterans Against the War in Vietnam, the latter having been takenover in late 1972/early 1973 by the maoist Revolutionary Communist Party of Barry Romo and company.

While the Espionage Act of 1917 was not written well, it did have very definitive sentences about “aiding and abetting the enemy during a time of war”.

Court decisions up to the federal level held that Vietnam was a “war” and a “legal” one at that. Thus the prosecution of the Hanoi Lobby would have been not only justified, but eye-opening, to say the least (would have nailed Tom Harkin and a bunch of the old Communist Party network in Congress for aiding the enemy - Conyers, Abzug, Cranston, etc).

If you only knew what was going on back in those days, information that never made it to the light of day, you would cringe and demand firing squads immediately.

Don’t even ask about the newsmen who served the communists, a few willingly, many as dupes such as in the Pham An spy case.


4 posted on 05/28/2013 6:37:05 PM PDT by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper
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To: neverdem

That is something George W. Bush should have done back in the day when the Shadow Warriors in the State Department, CIA, and Senate Committee were stabbing him in the back. But he didn’t, and we had a milquetoast Karl Rove creation; and we have never recovered from it.


5 posted on 05/28/2013 6:37:31 PM PDT by By and By (Dime Store New Dealers are Milquetoast and Liberal)
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To: neverdem

Presidents and attorneys general of both parties have been reluctant to use the Espionage Act when secret information has been leaked to the press because they have recognized that it is overbroad. They have understood, as neverdem ~:” Moynihan argues in Secrecy, that government classifies far too many things as secrets, even as it has often failed to protect information that truly needs to stay secret.
Barack Obama and his Justice Department seem to be of a different mind. They have used the Espionage Act of 1917 six times to bring cases against government officials for leaks to the media — twice as many as all their predecessors combined.”

Eric Holder had personally signed for the subpoena (under the Sedition Act of 1917) for information against Rosen .
The “Just-Us” Dept. had to go to three judges to get the subpoena signed ; that means that 2 judges had to have ‘declined’ to issue.
Only after there was a great hue and cry in the press about the Rosen case did Holder indicate that he had no intention of prosecuting Rosen.
Also , the subpoena included Rosen’s parents phone records: Also , his employers (Fox News )phone records
Knowledge of the issuance of subpoena were to be divulged 30 days after issuance; this notification never happened .
With no prosecution of Rosen , nor the intent to prosecute , this issuance of the subpoena under the Sedition Act of 1917
was a subtrefuge to get arround the legal issues of a reporter who was only doing his job.
This subpoena gave the Federal Dept. of “Just-Us” the right to conduct a FISHING EXPEDITION to circumvent legal
and moral issues ; a ‘bending of the law’if you will.
Or in more colloquial terms : “OverReach”

One can only imagine that since this happened recently , perhaps other fishing expeditions may have happened in the recent past.
One issue that comes immediately to mind is Sheryl Atkinson and her coverage of Benghazi.


6 posted on 05/28/2013 6:59:32 PM PDT by Tilted Irish Kilt (Untrustworthy people find it very difficult to believe that other men have honor. ~ David Codrea)
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To: MadMax, the Grinning Reaper

Great summary! Never thought about the Espionage Act, but Kerry was open to myriad UCMJ charges as well. He was still in uniform. Never happened. But it’s interesting that he chose Boston College for his Bachelor of Law degree. The notorious Fr. Drinan, who ran for and was elected to Congress, was Law faculty at BC, and JF*K worked on his campaign. Guess we’ll never know whether it was a dishonorable discharge that kept him from the better-known law schools, but we certainly DO know that his connection to a BC democrat helped in his admission to ANY law school!


7 posted on 05/28/2013 7:06:50 PM PDT by Mach9
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To: Tilted Irish Kilt

Apparently “firing” car dealers by the car tsar.


8 posted on 05/28/2013 7:33:58 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: Flick Lives
In time, governments become more concerned with their own preservation than the lives of the citizens they were originally intended to protect.

BINGO! We have a winner. For the best description of how that happens read a book called The Political Illusion by Jacques Ellul.

9 posted on 05/28/2013 7:58:12 PM PDT by newheart (The worst thing the Left ever did was to convince the world it was not a religion.)
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To: neverdem

“It’s also a reminder that big-government liberals can be as much inclined to suppress civil liberties as small-government conservatives can — or more so.”

Huh?


10 posted on 05/28/2013 7:58:33 PM PDT by Attention Surplus Disorder (This stuff we're going through now, this is nothing compared to the middle ages.)
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To: neverdem; The Looking Spoon

Obamalocks....

The Constitution is too old...
The Contract with America is too new...

But the 1917 espionage act is just right.....


11 posted on 05/28/2013 7:59:46 PM PDT by GraceG
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To: MadMax, the Grinning Reaper; All

The Curse of Obamanation continues to be “Moving Forward” with NO resistance from our sorry Congressional RINOs.


12 posted on 05/28/2013 8:10:12 PM PDT by Graewoulf (Traitor John Roberts' Commune-Style Obama'care' violates U.S. Constitution AND Anti-Trust Law.)
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks neverdem.


13 posted on 05/28/2013 8:22:55 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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To: neverdem

The stinking ghost of Woodrow Wilson still lives, and almost a century later his despotic legacy is a repressive tool in the hands of our latest wannabe dictator. Wilson, like Obama, hated the Constitution and its system of checks and balances that hindered Executive power. Woodrow Wilson was the father of Big Government in America.


14 posted on 05/28/2013 8:39:46 PM PDT by Always A Marine
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To: Mach9
Guess we’ll never know whether it was a dishonorable discharge that kept him from the better-known law schools, but we certainly DO know that his connection to a BC democrat helped in his admission to ANY law school!

Kerry first applied to Harvard Law School.

They turned him down due to inadequate grades as a Yale undergraduate.

Thus, JF*K was forced to settle for BC.

15 posted on 05/28/2013 8:48:00 PM PDT by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: IGNORANCE ON PARADE --)
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To: neverdem
It was an ugly period in our history. It’s also a reminder that big-government liberals can be as much inclined to suppress civil liberties as small-government conservatives can — or more so.

What an idiotic smear in service to the appearance of even-handedness. How, pray tell, do a "small-government conservatives" enforce their supposedly tyrannical agenda without big government? Answer, they don't. What we want is for government to stop forcing its amoral agenda down our throats.

16 posted on 05/28/2013 8:48:50 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (An economy is not a zero-sum game, but politics usually is.)
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To: Attention Surplus Disorder
Yeah, that got me too. I suspect Barone toked from the TEA Party Derangement Hookah Pipe prior to writing that. It's not something that a rational person would write.
17 posted on 05/28/2013 9:19:24 PM PDT by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: GraceG

Outstanding.


18 posted on 05/28/2013 9:20:11 PM PDT by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: okie01

That’s certainly true on its face. But I still think there’s more to it than that. Why BC? I thought he applied to Yale as well. It’s too much of a coincidence that Drinan happened to be at BC and Kerry happened to be accepted there. I don’t know what the current standards are, but back then a DD kept you out of ALL law schools.


19 posted on 05/28/2013 9:52:53 PM PDT by Mach9
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To: Attention Surplus Disorder

Huh?
________

Zackly.


20 posted on 05/28/2013 9:56:50 PM PDT by pax_et_bonum (Never Forget the Seals of Extortion 17 - and God Bless America)
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To: okie01
Kerry first applied to Harvard Law School. They turned him down due to inadequate grades as a Yale undergraduate. Thus, JF*K was forced to settle for BC.

The question of the year is How did Obama get into Harvard Law? Now there's a project for a young investigative reporter. Any takers? . .

21 posted on 05/28/2013 10:06:21 PM PDT by Art in Idaho (Conservatism is the only Hope for Western Civilization.)
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To: neverdem
They said a few words in 12th grade (68) about the evil Wilson and his laws. The FDR thing was covered as better leave sleeping dogs lie. In the end to spy's for japan never caught on that their purple code was cracked. They changed the code twice in six months. Now days lawyers don't use it for fear that it will be tossed out, hence its long life.
22 posted on 05/28/2013 10:20:08 PM PDT by Domangart
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To: Mach9
Why BC? I thought he applied to Yale as well.

I'm pretty certain that Kerry's first choice was Harvard Law. He was intent on following in JFK's footsteps.

BC may well have come in second because of Fr. Drinan.

I don't recall anything about him applying to Yale Law. Recall the FReeper Congressman BillyBob? He was a Kerry antagonist at Yale -- knew him well, hated his guts. I think BillyBob would've mentioned it had Kerry applied for Yale Law.

23 posted on 05/28/2013 10:39:05 PM PDT by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: IGNORANCE ON PARADE --)
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To: okie01

If he were following JFK(1), he’d have gone to Harvard undergrad. He didn’t—he went to Yale but couldn’t get into Yale Law (wish I could remember where I read or heard that!), never mind Harvard.


24 posted on 05/29/2013 12:35:26 AM PDT by Mach9
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To: Mach9
The notorious BC Law School head---Fr. Drinan--ran for and was elected to Congress....

Then his boss---the Pope---told him he wasn't too pleased about that. He had better quit Congress.

And he did.

25 posted on 05/29/2013 3:43:14 AM PDT by Liz
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To: All
Hmmmmm......DOJ/Ohaha's using the 1917 Espionage Act to nail journos --- poor overworked Valerie Jarrett burned the midnight oil to come up with that one (cackle).

REFERENCE The DOJ search warrant in the Rosen case cites Section 793(d) of Title 18 of the U.S. Code ...... a person lawfully in possession of secret govt-classified info who turns it over to someone not lawfully entitled to posses it has committed a crime (The source).....anyone who conspires to help the source do that has committed the same crime (The journo).

So why the brouhaha? B/c the Obummber crew has NEVER, EVER exhibited a modicum of interest in defending US ntl security from foreign domination ---- nor has it exhibited a concern for the life and liberties of Americans.

On the contrary----via "immigration reform" Ohaha is forcing on Americans entire primitive populations of creepy savages emanating from antediluvean Third World countries.

THIS IS RICH When the Nigerian jihadist butchered the Brit soldier, then defiantly gave an interview with blood-soaked hands, Ohaha okayed $50 million to his homeland---Kenya---as a sign of Ohaha's "tolerance and compassion.".

===============================================

$50 mill to another jihadist hellhole means more stupid futile nation-building ---- to subsidize living standards for dumbos still living in huts---w/ no water, electricity, adequate shelter and food.

But forget these "amenities" --- your tax dollars will build Kenyan "madrassas" to train more of these jihadist zealots to butcher innocent people.

26 posted on 05/29/2013 4:00:36 AM PDT by Liz
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To: neverdem

bookmark


27 posted on 05/29/2013 5:05:35 AM PDT by originalbuckeye (Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy)
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To: neverdem

If the Lyin’ King can use a 1917 definition of “Espionage” to squash Freedom of the Press, then Perhaps we can use the Constitutional Definition of TREASON to squash HIM!


28 posted on 05/29/2013 7:11:05 AM PDT by left that other site (You Shall Know the Truth, and the Truth Shall Set You Free...John 8:32)
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To: Attention Surplus Disorder

This made absolutely no sense to me either. Name when small-governmnet conservatives suppress civil liberties?


29 posted on 05/29/2013 7:44:19 AM PDT by frogjerk (We are conservatives. Not libertarians, not "fiscal conservatives", not moderates)
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To: 1010RD; pax_et_bonum; frogjerk

Isn’t that sentence just bloody weird? I normally have reasonable respect for Barone, I have to wonder how this sneaks into something he has written. How did that happen? Did some staff intern sit down at his word proc while he went to the can but left his computer open?


30 posted on 05/29/2013 8:22:56 AM PDT by Attention Surplus Disorder (This stuff we're going through now, this is nothing compared to the middle ages.)
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To: Always A Marine

Wilson was the father of the Federal Reserve in the US. As such he also gave US sovereignty of US finances to the big money baggers in Europe such as the Rothschilds who gave us the likes of Soros and Europe the likes of Marks, Lenin and the communists who would burn our Constitution.


31 posted on 05/29/2013 8:50:37 AM PDT by noinfringers2
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To: Liz

Yes. I was surprised that this particular Jesuit still took orders from his boss. Several of the other Jebbies didn’t.


32 posted on 05/29/2013 8:50:51 AM PDT by Mach9
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To: Attention Surplus Disorder

Isn’t that sentence just bloody weird?
___________

Yes, very weird.

It hit my eyes as if it were typed in fluorescent font.


33 posted on 05/29/2013 9:48:32 AM PDT by pax_et_bonum (Never Forget the Seals of Extortion 17 - and God Bless America)
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To: neverdem

Barack Obama and his Justice Department seem to be of a different mind. They have used the Espionage Act of 1917 six times to bring cases against government officials for leaks to the media — twice as many as all their predecessors combined.

Here’s a video of several journalists being harassed by Homeland Security... scary stuff...

http://dailycaller.com/2013/05/29/pro-homeless-pols-give-street-people-the-bums-rush/


34 posted on 05/29/2013 3:13:24 PM PDT by GOPJ (Swedes bring their cars..savages their flames..burning cars a metaphor. D. Greenfield)
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To: Attention Surplus Disorder; pax_et_bonum; frogjerk

Could there be an additional level to the suppression of information by Obama and Co.?

Mind Control.


35 posted on 05/29/2013 5:45:38 PM PDT by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: MadMax, the Grinning Reaper
for aiding the enemy - Conyers, Abzug, Cranston, etc

Please tell me that SOB Church was one of them, I was a kid then, but the more I hear about him it makes my head explode...

36 posted on 05/29/2013 5:49:37 PM PDT by taildragger (( Tighten the 5 point harness and brace for Impact Freepers, ya know it's coming..... ))
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