Donald Trump has taken yet another trick out of Tricky Dick Nixon’s playbook.
During his Watergate days, Richard Nixon employed a team of “special investigators” who were to dig up dirt on individuals that opposed the Nixon agenda. One of their targets was Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. To discredit him, they broke into his psychologists office and attempted to dig up his medical records.
Donald Trump wants to try to run the same gambit against his own whistleblowing “problem” but in a far more perverted way. Jeff Sessions announced today that the Department of Justice has tripled the number of probes into what they call “illegal leaks” and they are reviewing the policy on issuing subpoenas to reporters.
The latter of these two developments is particularly important. If reporters are subpoenaed and do not reveal their sources if asked by a judge, as they should not under any ethical circumstance, they could go to prison. When reporters Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada, who published a book detailing extensive steroid use by athletes like Jason Giambi, Barry Bonds and others, went through that exact scenario, they were given a jail sentence of 18 months.
Ultimately, they did not serve a day of it because the whistleblower, one of the attorney’s in the case, came forward and plead guilty to leaking grand jury testimony. But other sources might not be as willing to take the blame should Sessions choose to prosecute. This leaves Americans and journalists with two choices: accept a lack of freedom of the press, which is totally unacceptable and totalitarian, or accept an official government version of events, something which has proven itself to be false, time and time again.
Anyone who wishes to reveal a story to me, I will gladly report it on this blog and I will gladly go to prison before revealing any source. I am working on setting up secure methods of encrypted communication.