In the U.S., “No fewer that eight individuals have been charged under the Espionage Act since Obama became president,” the report notes, “compared with three during Bush’s two terms.” The year 2013 will be remembered “for the National Security Agency computer specialist Edward Snowden, who exposed the mass surveillance methods developed by the US intelligence agencies.”
The whistleblower is the enemy. Hence the 35-year jail term imposed on Private Chelsea/Bradley Manning for being the big WikiLeaks source, an extremely long sentence but nonetheless small in comparison with the 105-year sentence requested for freelance journalist Barrett Brown in a hacking case. Amid an all-out hunt for leaks and sources, 2013 will also be the year of the Associated Press scandal, which came to light when the Department of Justice acknowledged that it had seized the news agency’s phone records.
RWB ranks the U.K. — where government agents oversaw the destruction of hard drives containing Snowden documents at The Guardian — higher than the U.S. Ryan Gallagher, who just joined First Look Media as a reporter, said on Twitter that seems off:
@rj_gallagher The Guardian explicitly moved its NSA operations here because of the greater protections. The UK belong down near Egypt.
— Trevor Timm (@trevortimm) February 12, 2014
“By identifying journalism with terrorism with such disturbing ease, the UK authorities are following one of the most widespread practices of authoritarian regimes,” the report says.