Over the course of the Obama administration, high profile cabinet secretaries have been used to shield President Obama from the consequences of his many failed policies, and a series of scandals that he and most of the media proclaimed to be “phony.” Kathleen Sebelius, for example, was blamed for the mismanagement of Obamacare; Janet Napolitano was blamed for mismanagement of the border; Eric Shinseki for the problems of the Veterans’ Administration; and, now, Attorney General Eric Holder, perhaps the biggest heat shield of all, has announced his pending resignation.
But rather than getting caught up in the personalities who publicly represent President Obama’s policies and take the fall for the administration’s many scandals, journalist James Risen pointed the finger squarely at the President when he said on Sunday that “I don’t think any of this would be happening under the Obama administration if Obama didn’t want to do it. I think Obama hates the press. I think he doesn’t like the press and he hates leaks.”
Risen was referring to the unprecedented number of leak investigations and prosecutions that the Obama administration has pursued.
As we pointed out in a special report for AIM, President Obama’s Department of Justice subpoenaed two months of Associated Press records to go after a leaker, as well as naming James Rosen a criminal co-conspirator to the Stephen Jin-Woo Kim leaking case. Sally Buzbee, Associated Press Washington Bureau Chief, recently came out and condemned the administration’s obstructionist tactics, especially with regards to Freedom of Information Act requests, which, she argued, are sometimes given to political appointees rather than processed by the civil service. A trend of stonewalling the media has emerged, and it can only be explained by coordinated effort.
“Risen said he thinks one of Holder’s most important jobs is to protect Obama from direct criticism,” reports Central Maine. “He has often tried to do it on this issue,” said Risen.
If not to shield the President from criticism, then why is the Fast & Furious scandal associated primarily with Holder and not Obama, and why are the leak investigations discussed above primarily attributed to Holder, not the President? Attitudes towards leakers, and administration policy, flow from the top—not from the middle.
As for Risen, Politico reports, “Risen could face jail time for refusing to reveal his sources about a failed CIA operation, though Attorney General Eric Holder and Obama have indicated Risen will not go to jail.” But Risen maintains that he would “go to jail to protect the confidentiality of sources” if necessary.