National security reporting is "effectively being criminalized" under President Barack Obama, New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson says, citing the administration's unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowers.
"This seems to be, if not a stated policy, a reality where journalism about sensitive national security issues,that I see as vitally in the public interest, is effectively being criminalized, and a real freeze is setting in
to what had been up to this point a healthy discourse between sources and journalists," Abramson said during a panel discussion at Columbia University entitled "Journalism After Snowden," according to Politico.
The Obama administration has pursued seven criminal leak investigations to date, more than every previous presidential administration combined, Politico noted in its coverage of the Columbia event.
According to Abramson, "This has had a profound effect on journalists
who cover national security, with the Snowden case being the most recent [example]."
Abramson said earlier this month that Obama has been operating the "most secretive White House"
she has covered during her time as a political journalist.
"I would say it is the most secretive White House that I have ever been involved in covering, and that includes — I spent 22 years of my career in Washington and covered presidents from President Reagan on up through now, and I was Washington bureau chief of the Times during George W. Bush's first time," she said in an interview with Al Jazeera.
White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz, however, took to Twitter to refute her claims, quoting a 2012 article from the Times
saying that the crackdown on information leaks has nothing to do with any directive from the president:
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