Double standard

Obama defends Clinton’s email practices, but has a different standard when prosecuting whistleblowers. [David E. Sanger and Mark Landler – The New York Times]

WASHINGTON — When President Obama defended Hillary Clinton’s email practices in a television interview over the weekend by saying, “there’s classified, and then there’s classified,” he was only repeating what critics of government secrecy have long contended: that most of what is classified is merely sensitive, a little embarrassing or perhaps a policy debate still in progress.

But these are distinctions the Obama administration has not necessarily made in its treatment of classified information when dealing with news organizations, whistle-blowers or government officials accused of leaking information.

The White House has overseen some nine leak prosecutions, compared with just three under all previous presidents, drawing sharp criticism from news media advocates. The administration denounced the huge trove of confidential State Department cables released by WikiLeaks as damaging to American diplomacy, and it created task forces to counter Edward J. Snowden’s revelations about the National Security Agency – some of which involved genuine secrets, and some of which did not.

In a case involving Thomas A. Drake, a former official of the National Security Agency accused of wrongly providing information about the agency’s practices to a newspaper, the judge blasted prosecutors for putting Mr. Drake through “four years of hell.” He was sentenced to community service.

One standard for Obama’s crony, another for everybody else.

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