Over the past eight years, the administration has prosecuted nine cases involving whistle-blowers and leakers, compared with only three by all previous administrations combined.
It has repeatedly used the Espionage Act, a relic of World War I-era red-baiting, not to prosecute spies but to go after government officials who talked to journalists.
Under Mr. Obama, the Justice Department and the F.B.I. have spied on reporters by monitoring their phone records, labeled one journalist an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal case for simply doing reporting and issued subpoenas to other reporters to try to force them to reveal their sources and testify in criminal cases.
.. the war on leaks and other efforts to control information was “the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration, when I was one of the editors involved in The Washington Post’s investigation of Watergate.”
.. Mr. Obama’s record of going after both journalists and their sources has set a dangerous precedent that Mr. Trump can easily exploit.
.. before the George W. Bush administration, only one person was ever convicted under the Espionage Act for leaking —
.. “You got the impression from the tone of the government officials that they wanted to take a zero-tolerance approach to leaks.”
.. the Obama administration won a ruling from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in my case that determined that there was no such thing as a “reporter’s privilege” — the right of journalists not to testify about their confidential sources in criminal cases.
.. That court ruling could result, for example, in a reporter’s being quickly jailed for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the Trump administration’s Justice Department to reveal the C.I.A. sources used for articles on the agency’s investigation into Russian hacking during the 2016 presidential election.