Woodward, Bernstein and the Media "Witch Hunt" Warning

Happy 40 years, Deepthroat!

Tomorrow marks the official 40th anniversary of the Watergate scandal; a story that started with a small crack in a much larger shell that eventually brought down a President. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the Washington Post duo and investigative journalism heroes, will be attendance at a celebration but, today, they had some choice words on a more recent story.

A few weeks ago, the Voice reported on a development in the Obama administration's War on Leaks, in which the Justice Department attempted to subpoena James Risen for his reporting on state secrets. Well, in the past few days, things have changed a bit in regards to the going ons behind closed doors in Washington - a subject that Woodward and Bernstein can be considered experts on.

This morning on CBS's "Face the Nation," the two warned against a McCarthey-esque "witch hunt" that is about to break out in Congress. 

And the press seems to be its main target.
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leaks, Media, Obama

What is Going on in the Vatican? A Look at the VatiLeaks Scandal

Someone call up M. Night Shyamalan. This story is gonna be huge.
What happens when you mix together the crazy plot twists of Dan Brown, the conspicuous nature of Julian Assange and a right-hand serviceman as powerful as Alfred was to Bruce Wayne? 

You have what the Times has called "perhaps the greatest breach in centuries in the wall of secrecy that surrounds the Vatican." Or, as the Italians like to call it, VatiLeaks (don't confuse this with WikiLeaks or a nasal flu medication).

Here's what's going down:

At the beginning of the week, journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi published a book called Your Holiness: The Secret Papers of Benedict XVI. The story was a ticking time-bomb for the smallest country in the world's credibility, accusing, by name, leaders of the Church who were involved in power struggles deep within the hierarchy. 

This is like the Watergate of Italy; picture Nuzzi as both Woodward and Bernstein combined.
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Obama's DOJ Compares a "Reporter's Privilege" For Leaks to Buying Drugs

The Obama administration has had a tough time fighting the War on Leaks. From Bradley Manning's arrest in the WikiLeaks controversial to the successful subpoenaing of Twitter, critics have heralded the Presidency as one of the most anti-leak executive reigns in recent history.

And a new chapter was written in the War's history books yesterday.

Four years ago, Pulitzer-Prize winning New York Times reporter James Risen wrote a book entitled "State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration." In it, Risen used leaked information from former CIA agent Jeffrey Sterling, who is now being charged with releasing classified details about a botched plot against Iran. That little inclusion led Attorney General Eric Holder to subpoena Risen three (failed) times to testify against Sterling. 

He has pleaded the Fifth on all occasions, arguing that he had a "reporter's privilege" - a doctrine that keeps the press out of cases like this on the basis that they are simply the middlemen of information. And, in 2011, a federal judge ruled that he had a "qualified privilege" to keep his mouth shut, saying that a subpoena gave no right for the government to "rifle through a reporter's notebook." 

But, on Friday morning, it looked like the Department of Justice could care less.
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Jill Abramson's 'Puppy Diaries': We've Got an Advance Copy

puppy diaries.jpg
Rosie Gray
Our copy of the Puppy Diaries.
Jill Abramson, executive editor of the New York Times, is a huge dog lover. How huge? She blogged about her adorable golden retriever puppy Scout on nytimes.com and she's coming out with a book this month, The Puppy Diaries: Raising a Dog Named Scout, also known as Jill Abramson's God Damn Puppy Book. It's the best vanity project of 2011(it was even printed by Times Books!) and we've gotten our hands on an advance copy. John Koblin made some observations last week, but we'll go ahead and publish a paragraph or two ourselves. A caveat: this is an advance reader's copy; the final version may be different.

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BP Will Probably Drill in the Gulf Again, After This Mess Blows Over

Um, too soon? BP took the opportunity today -- as crews plan to seal the damaged well via an 18,000 foot relief well -- to tell us that they'll probably drill again right in the same place where millions of gallons of oil have leaked into the Gulf. Because, after, all, there's still a lot of money to be made!

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Cone of Silence Placed Upon Entire Town Regarding Chelsea Clinton Wedding

via New York Times
The New York Times has a cute little piece on how the folks of Rhinebeck, New York -- widely believed to be the location of Chelsea Clinton's July 31 wedding -- have been rudely shushed by confidentiality agreements about anything having to do with the Clinton-Mezvinsky nupts.

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Mel Gibson's Fifth Rant Is Released; Tapes May Have Been Tampered With

RadarOnline has us right where they want us. Because even though we're listening to the fifth Mel Gibson rant, we're almost feeling...is it possible...bored with this whole routine? We know he's going to pant, we know he's going to use his hoarse and scary outside voice and call names, we know he's going to employ the f-bomb extravagantly, and we know that we're going to feel dirty afterward. Still, we'd probably listen to at least five more of these things. And fortunately, today there's also a "shocking twist in story that's already been full of shocking revelations"!

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Chelsea Clinton's Ultra-Secret Wedding Suddenly Way Less Secret

OMG, details about Chelsea Clinton's wedding to boyfriend Marc Mezvinsky -- once "under intense scrutiny and impenetrable secrecy" -- continue to emerge! Now we know, thanks to the Hudson Valley News, that the grand 400-person invite-only event will be held at John Jacob Astor's former estate in Rhinebeck, New York, a 50-acre property with views of the Hudson. We also know it's scheduled for July 31, and suddenly all this information about the formerly hush-hush-hush affair is making us wonder if this is one of those Brad Pitt-I'm-Flying-JFK-to-France moves to throw us off the trail. Bill, if it's you leaking this stuff, Chelsea's gonna be peeved.

General McChrystal Relieved of Command; Will Probably Show Up as MTV Twitter Jockey

Word is that General McChrystal, formerly the top U.S. commander and strategist for Afghanistan, now of "Can't Keep His Mouth Shut Around Magazine Reporters" infamy, has been fired by President Obama after a 30-minute-long meeting today, per ABC News. General David Petraeus will replaced him. Obama is expected to make an announcement as to the decision later today.

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Morning Links: General McChrystal to Face Obama Today; Nikki Haley Wins Republican Nomination for Governor; USA vs. Algeria

• General Stanley A. McChrystal, top commander in Afganistan, has submitted his resignation over his critical remarks -- including saying Obama appeared "uncomfortable and intimidated" during their first meeting, and dismissing Vice President Biden as "Bite Me" -- in the latest issue of Rolling Stone. It's not clear whether President Obama will accept the resignation. They will meet this morning. [NYT]

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