This really should come as no surprise following all the revelations we’ve seen from the Edward Snowden leaks regarding the National Security Agency’s spying operations in America and abroad. In a recent survey, 64% of reporters believe that the federal government is spying on their online activity, calls and emails.
The survey, conducted among 671 journalists by the Pew Research Center, reveals that “About two-thirds of investigative journalists surveyed (64%) believe that the U.S. government has probably collected data about their phone calls, emails or online communications, and eight-in-ten believe that being a journalist increases the likelihood that their data will be collected.”
“Those who report on national security, foreign affairs or the federal government are particularly likely to believe the government has already collected data about their electronic communications (71% say this is the case),” the report goes on to state.
The Hill reports:
Fears of government spying are higher among those who report on the federal government or national security and foreign affairs, with 71 percent of those journalists saying the government has collected their data. Sixty-two percent of other investigative journalists agreed.
About half of the investigative reporters surveyed said they’ve changed how they store their documents due to such concerns.
Fears that the U.S. government has spied on journalists have been highlighted in recent years, as the Obama administration has moved to stop leaks of national security information.
Though there are many concerns among journalists about pursuing certain stories, especially in the light of mysterious deaths such as Andrew Breitbart and Michael Hastings (who was allegedly working on the Bowe Bergdahl story), the survey indicated that “just 14 percent say that in the past 12 months, such concerns have kept them from pursuing a story or reaching out to a particular source, or have led them to consider leaving investigative journalism altogether.”
According to the Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard, the survey “makes Richard Nixon’s enemies list look like child’s play.”
Former CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson, who was concerned that the federal government had compromised her own computer regarding her investigative reporting of Benghazi and Fast and Furious, claims in her new book Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington claims to have evidence that the government not only activated her computer remotely, but also recorded her keystrokes and planted incriminating documents on her hard drive. As a result, Attkisson, who was on Obama’s “enemies list,” has filed a lawsuit.
It is concerns like these, where the federal government violates the constraints of the Constitution and the rights of their citizens, which require that the people actually get involved in checking the criminal activity of their government. This is why grassroots movements such as Brandon Keibler’s Project Digital Privacy is so important to get behind.
The kinds of activities that this administration has been involved in are a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment, which reads:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
We cannot sit back and ignore the criminal activity of the federal government and the complicity of those we elected to represent us by their silence and inaction, unless, of course, they are the ones being spied on, to continue unchallenged. The freedom of the press to report the truth is to be protected under the First Amendment. Clearly, we have not only seen that violated by the federal government, but we are seeing Congress do absolutely nothing to rein in the criminal activity.