"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 term," Abramson told Al Jazeera America in an interview that will air on Sunday.The comments were made to Al Jazeera America in an interview that will air Sunday.
"I dealt directly with the Bush White House when they had concerns that stories we were about to run put the national security under threat. But, you know, they were not pursuing criminal leak investigations," she continued. "The Obama administration has had seven criminal leak investigations. That is more than twice the number of any previous administration in our history. It's on a scale never seen before. This is the most secretive White House that, at least as a journalist, I have ever dealt with."
James Risen, a Times reporter, is currently fighting to avoid having to testify against a former CIA official accused of being his source. According to Robert Gates's new memoir, Obama hadn't been in office more than a month before saying he wanted a criminal investigation into disclosures on Iran policy that had been published the Times.The far-reaching interview touched on the Iraq War, the Snowden debacle, and the future of print newspapers as well as secrecy of the Obama White House.
In the wake of the revelations about the Justice Department's monitoring of Fox News reporter James Rosen, whom the DOJ labeled a “co-conspirator," the Times editorial board wrote that "the Obama administration has moved beyond protecting government secrets to threatening fundamental freedoms of the press to gather news."