Obama against prosecuting journalists, White House says
May 21st, 2013
05:35 PM ET
8 years ago

Obama against prosecuting journalists, White House says

(CNN) – Following revelations that the Obama administration has launched investigations into journalists from both the Associated Press and Fox News over national security leaks, the White House said Tuesday that President Obama does not believe journalists should be "prosecuted for doing their jobs."

"I can tell you that in our conversation yesterday, [President Obama] reiterated just how important he believes it is that reporters, that all of you and your colleagues, are able to do your jobs in a free and open way," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney at Tuesday's press briefing.

The White House faced renewed questions on the issue after the Washington Post reported Monday that the Department of Justice named Fox News Correspondent James Rosen a "co-conspirator" in an investigation of a leak included in a story he reported on North Korea. That followed the revelation last week that the DOJ had seized the phone records of several AP reporters involved in national security reporting.

Speaking Tuesday, Carney said the president believes in finding the right balance between safeguarding vital security information and protecting freedom of the press.

"He believes there is an important balance to be found here, and he thinks the questions about how that balance is being struck are entirely legitimate and he welcomes the public discussions, again, about the broad question of the balance that needs to be struck," Carney, a former reporter himself, also said.

Responding to those comments, the White House Correspondents Association said in a statement that it stands "in strong solidarity with our colleagues who have been scrutinized."

"In terms of the administration, ultimately what will matter more in all of these cases is action not words," the association also said.

Filed under: Jay Carney • President Obama
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    If I write do you prosecute? Nonsense. Of course, he is against. This nation needs to change the legal system. Watch these greedy attorney and nab them. Legal system is flawed.

    May 21, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    Obama only says that, because he knows he can't really get around Freedom of the Press. If he COULD.......he WOULD!

    May 21, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  3. the fish rots from the head

    hahahaha... Yeah, I think Hugo Chavez said the same thing. Come on people! Does anybody actually believe a word that comes out of Carney's or Obama's mouth? If so you should seek immediate treatment for your koolaide over dose.

    May 21, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  4. Tampa Tim

    Rick, you continue to amaze people who think, with all your right wing conspiracy crap.

    May 21, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  5. Thomas

    @Rick McDaniel
    Obama only says that, because he knows he can't really get around Freedom of the Press. If he COULD.......he WOULD!


    I think you have Obama confused with GW Bush !

    May 21, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  6. just sayin

    one day soon jay carney's head is going to spin right off of his body! i am surprised the white house press corp hasn't submitted a petition demanding that carney be replaced with somebody that the press corp can actually believe. this lying fool has zero credibility left. to print anything he says is the definition of journalistic malpractice.

    May 21, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  7. truth hurts but reality bites

    At this point Jay Carney should be prosecuted for his constat lying to the American people. The guy is a farce.

    May 21, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  8. Data Driven

    Okay, fine, WHCA. But given the fawningly servile display from you guys during the previous Administration, particularly during Bush's first term, you don't really have any credibility on "freedom of the press", now do you? And you guys are still not exploring in depth what Rosen was actually doing, and that his source was convicted by a grand jury of espionage. But, by all means, continue puffing up your feathers like little banty roosters.

    May 21, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  9. Pete

    Pres.Obama should especially go after Rupert Murdochs FOX NETWORK now part owned by Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal that by the way supposidly funded terrorists groups in the past.And another thing I'll bring up is why is Murdoch guilty in Britain on wiretapping charges for news gathering in politics but can get away with it here,O yah Bushs so called Patriot Act or go to Homeland Security to back his guilty ass!!More liberties down the toilet from that Texas imbecile in Bush!!

    May 21, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  10. Joan

    It is no problem if the press can be trusted to not print "sensitive and classified" material. What part of those two words don't they understand? Freedom of the press also comes with some common sense and responsibility. Printing classified information about national security doesn't seem too responsible to me. There is also a huge problem with these secret "sources" because as ABC found out, they often distort the information for their own benefit. That is what the GOP did with the "leaked" e-mails about the Benghazi "scandal". Kind of interesting that they are charging the administration with changing facts and they distorted e-mails. Kind of hypocritical isn't it? Much like the media who supported them and just yesterday gave totally inaccurate death numbers in Oklahoma. It's OK for them to give inaccurate information on every major story for the last few months , but the administration had to get it 100% correct immediately in a remote, unfriendly, technically backward country on the other side of the world. Incredible. If "sources" are to be trusted, they should be able to have their name and occupation printed. If not they are suspect to being snitches, gossips or partisan trouble makers. If they are credible and have nothing to hide, why won't they disclose their names?

    May 21, 2013 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  11. Catmandew

    Obama is already tryin to get around Freedom of Speech. When will people realize these are all just signs of how corrupt and uncaring Obama is?! Once he says well we need some kind of balance here on what may be reported its over the government has taken control of what is or isn't reported by the media! Then we will be just like Iran or Saudi Arabia.

    May 21, 2013 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  12. Ghostwriter

    Nonsense....that guy at Fox was indicted for impersonating a journalist with the intent to mislead the public. What's troubling is that only one at Fox was indicted.

    May 21, 2013 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  13. Borderless

    To finish the White House Statement: "The White House is against prosecuting journalists...but we don't get involved in what the DOJ does.

    May 21, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  14. California

    Obama saying one thing while directing his administration to do the opposite.

    This is getting old. YAWN.

    May 21, 2013 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  15. RINO Bil

    Freedom of the press does not mean freedom for being irresponsible.

    Reporters who publish secrets that could damage U.S. foreign intelligence efforts, or result in the loss of an agent's life should be prosecuted for treason.

    I am still upset that Robert Novak did not die in prison for outing Valerie Plame as a CIA agent too.

    May 21, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  16. California

    Former IRS chief says he lacked details, acted properly on targeting
    IRS officials to take the 5th.

    We all know what this means but I'm sure democrats as usual will give themselves a pass AGAIN.

    May 21, 2013 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  17. BudW

    lets see each day the Obama ship takes on more water and begins to list, they are caught red handed going after the press what else is he going to say? In my life time I have never seen a President who did not know what the DOJ, State dept, Treasury dept, were doing on very important matters that dog not hunt, now we find IRS personal going to take the 5th, can you say tip of the iceberg.

    May 21, 2013 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  18. jpmichigan

    The President along with his dog and pony show , take the oath of office, which state that they will up hold the Constitution, you know the USA Constitution that they are always trying to take down. This administration is power hungry and control freaks. Eventually all the things that they are saying they know nothing about , will eventually come home to roust.

    May 21, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  19. king

    this is why the repubs always taking set on obama, you need to prosecute these folks, if you keep giving these folks free passes, they will eat you for supper, furthermore someone has to send a message that putting our nation security in jeopardy just because you have the repubs behind you shouting first amend rights, wont work dam it. look at the way you allow the bush administration to walk free. they should be tried for treason and crimes against humanity, look how you allow these banks to slide by, after they took our country down the drain. you need to stand up and let the pieces fall where they can, afterall your not running for anything else, i am tired of seeing these repubs throw stones just to hide their own transgressions which is humungous.

    May 21, 2013 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  20. J Maxwell

    Can’t believe CNN and other from the liberal media aren’t holding the White House’s feet to the fire. No wonder most people watch Fox News it the only network that isn’t kissing Obama’s butt. Watch out CNN soon they will come after you, remember WWII.

    May 21, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    We need to know who is leaking national security info. There is a very old saying "Loose lips sinks ship."

    May 21, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  22. Cephus

    Lets observes the first amendment for all, the best journalist passed away long time ago and unfortunately they took away the ethics tool kit. Today what we call journalists are just politicians chihuahua lap dogs on a tiny leash. What we need is protection for world bloggers they are far much better than those corporate chihuahuas.

    May 21, 2013 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  23. DENNA

    PRESIDENT Obama would not try to circumvent Freedom of the Press. Why would he? I'll bet Nixon wished, in the end, that he could. All of this nonsense is the GOP, again, trying to get a Nixon-style scandal to stick to any Democratic Administration. The GOP has been trying to do this since Nixon messed up. Let it go. By the way, why isn't the GOP-led Congress trying to create some jobs for America. I believe they promised to do this in 2010.

    May 21, 2013 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  24. g

    dick cheney would have had them in gitmo by now

    May 21, 2013 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  25. tb

    Nice sentiments. Instruct your DofJ to follow suit.

    May 21, 2013 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
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