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Web Exclusive: Rick Karr on Government Secrecy

Are whistleblowers and muckrakers facing insurmountable odds? Correspondent Rick Karr takes stock of the cases of THE NEW YORK TIMES' James Risen and former FBI agent Sibel Edmonds.

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Producer: Betsy Rate
Editor: Paul Desjarlais
AP: Gloria Teal


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I think that we should pull back are troops from the war in Afganistan.

Wowee, Boy! That thread sure hit a stone wall! What happened? I hope James Risen and Sibel are still OK, maybe just have Bell's Palsy like Amy Goodman did... Uh-h-h-h,
They got me...

The Sibel Edmonds case is enormous. Bill Moyer had a show back in the 80's on the Secret Government (you can see it on You Tube). Our secret gov. is alive and well. The High Cabal continues to call the shots. 911 was obviously allowed to occur in order to generate support for attacking Iraq....Oil!

We need to expose this quickly to protect Sibel and all Americans.

Thanks so much for the mention of Sibel Edmonds case . We need to hear what she knows !

Thanks so much for the mention of Sibel's case.

Secrecy and covert information fascinate some weak minded persons. I have been fascinated myself by the links off commentor's names. This Ferrebee below is a good example. First you have a Jesus-submission link with advertising all over it. I guess it's Christ's will here at Easter that you buy the products. The drawings suggesting mushroom clouds and a pitcher of blood being poured over the Earth are also fascinating. If you click on the URL about Ambassador Fanta, or something, it is money- centered garbage which even requests a donation to get the whole enchilada. I can't imagine Bill Moyers shelling out plastic money to get the "scoop."

I think I know why America appears so religious after following such nutty links.
It is fear and economic duress without recourse which makes people turn to superstition, bargaining with imaginary deities.(Just like Confederate slaves practicing their VooDoo.) Even elected leaders, appointees and military officers become demi-gods in the mind of the oppressed. Destiny is hitched to the stars, and the Stars of media are hitched to destiny, and to deity. There is a nasty soup cooking in people's heads today. No wonder behavior is out of control when reasoning is wildly irrational.

This is not to blame Rick Karr or James Risen or Sibel Edmonds; all level- headed patriots trying to do the right thing. What I mean is that with education so limited, and media so materialistic and diversionary, it is a wonder any of us can think at all. I have been down, ill and broke before, and had my mind sucked into a TV preacher's lair. Later after insurance benefits kicked in and I got back to earning a living, not dosing on Niquil to sleep; I regained my sanity and realized I was another powerless citizen witnessing the hollowing out of a pretty good country by insane people obsessed with profit and property.
Bill Moyers, Rick Karr and James Risen: To me you're like play-by-play sports announcers. You don't expect the people to disrupt the "sacred" game do you? Bill is the type who plays ball, I guess.

To Mr. Moyer,
I have been reading with interest Christopher Story's Global Analysis, International Inteligence. He has been reporting on the story of Ambassador Leo Wanta. I would like you to consider this in one of your future reports. I feel this is a very important story and Your opinion would be appreciated as to its truthfulness. Your opinion and broadcast are very valued.

Thank you,
Gary Larrabee

My first concern after hearing about James Risen today was what can I do, what can any American do to help James Risen retain his position and credibility; prison is out-rageous,for telling the truth. In fact, as a mother, a woman, a US citizen it makes me sick to see where our nation is headed under the criminal auspices of the Bush administration. I can't see it any other way. He has lied, manipulated, cheated, and caused death to millions of innocents by his decisions. Under his leadership our government seems to be unaccountable to its people. I have always closed my eyes to politics in the past, feeling frustrated and helpless as a single woman. Today I realize that if our people lose their faith in their government we will have anarchy and lose our national self-respect. The world is already beginning to look at us, the populace of this great nation, as fools or puppets. We can't afford to remain quiet about the wrong being done by elements of our government. I just do not know where to start standing up for what is right, who will hear our voice. More than ever before we need an honest and fearless leader, a man of principle and virtue. Notice I say 'man', a Clinton or not, I just don't think Hillary has what it takes. To me she is just another member of the rich 'politician' family. Elizabeth

This administration has employed the same tactics it used in Texas. Creating a political landscape of fear and intimidation that pervades the branches of government and ordinary citizens into inaction for fear of reprisals. This administration is clearly changed the USA from a country of laws to a country corrupt self serving individuals. The republicans now have a database on every citizen in the United States through warrant less wiretapping. Only time will solve the mystery of how they will use this tool to promote there political ends. I hope the Congress and citizens of the USA will wake up soon.

In the autumn before the November 2002 elections, the Bush administration had a steady drum beat demanding a vote on the war authorization act so the people would know where the Senators stood prior to the election. The press failed to ask why the rush. The press was unwilling to suggest that the President wanted to go to war in the Spring of 2003 so it would be a win the the bag by the time of the 2004 elections. The Press was unwilling to point out that the President wanted to force the Democrats, who had only a one-vote majority, to vote with for the war under his banner of false patriotism or lose their majority. The press didn't point out that the Democrats did so and lost anyway, thus suffering the loss and being shown, later, to be as unprincipled as George Bush and Karl Rove. Later, after the Dixie Chicks had been Dixie Chicked, (a verb meaning to be financially ruined by mob vengeance for political reasons), the greedy, gutless media owners, caring nothing about the nation, enforced the equally gutless news departments to support the war fervor. Well, what the heck, can't blame them, we all want to keep our jobs.

Not since McKinley had we had a President lie to the nation to take it to war in pursuit of empire. American History classes in public school are a joke, so adults in 2002 had no historical perspective. Except for Karl Rove. He knew since he modeled the G.W. Bush Presidency to be McKinley II. McKinley, had been a Republican and had won re-election during a time of financial difficulties because of his trumped-up Spanish-American War and despite the on-going problem of the Philippine people creating an insurrection to get rid of the U.S. as they'd done to try and get rid of the Spanish.

I hope Judith Miller of New York Times fame becomes a synonym for a journalist who sells out the journalism for vanity - as in, "Are you doing a Judith Miller?" I hope the Chaney technique of leaking false information to a Judy Miller and then citing that Judy Miller's column as a credible source on a talk show, becomes a well-studied means of duping the press.

I hope we return to the military draft. Then the voters will hold both the press and the government accountable.

What the Bush, Chaney regime has done is create a corporate dictatorship in which there is no accountabilty. It is the end of our democracy and have rendered our congress impotent to exercise the rule of law. I do not think our nation has faced such perils from it's own executive branch ever before.

What the Bush, Chaney regime has done is create a corporate dictatorship in which there is no accountabilty. It is the end of our democracy and have rendered our congress impotent to exercise the rule of law. I do not think our nation has faced such perils from it's own executive branch.

Thank you for The Bill Moyers Journal. After some years on PBS, your program has done an exemplary reporting job and accomplished nothing. You might consider shutting down in the foreseeable future.

As your program of 3/14/08 demonstrated once again many of the faults and illegalities of the present administration, it also demonstrated once again that all you or anyone can do is talk about them.

As the Congress aids and abets the present Executive Branch of the US government by approving every appointee and refuses to impeach for crimes committed, it is obvious that no consequences will be paid by anyone now or ever.

Many people in the Congress talk a good game but it is painfully obvious that the present administration is in total control and can and will do whatever it pleases until its time has expired and beyond. I would like to ask Henry Waxman and others of his colleagues if they will continue to go after the perpetrators of this government’s wrongdoings long after they are gone and will they continue to accept being told to go take a hike.

After watching this segment on tonight's Bill Moyers' Journal, I sent the following letter to my congressman:

I realize that the House passed the surveillance bill today, and that the Senate is likely to NOT pass it without amnesty for the telecom firms.

If it comes back to the House, and it looks as if there is a need to further compromise, it would be wonderful if we could at least ALSO give amnesty to the courageous reporter who broke the story for the New York Times. Without reporters like James Risen, we would never have known about the current administration's abuse of power. It is very disturbing that he is being prosecuted for his acts. (See, for further information, the Bill Moyers show of March 14.)

Thank you for your attention.

It is about time that the american press start to do some investigative reporting. The edmonds case certainly deserves full attention on the show. Why is she the most gagged US citizen? Maybe you could even ask some of the lawmakers that know her story! I hope you will follow up.

Thanks for the mention of Sibel's case . Why isnt MR. Moyers doing an interview with her ?

The above story is too little, to late, and too buried in this blog.

Please just get Sibel Edmonds on the show, across the table from you for a lengthy conversation, and do a thorough investigative piece on the situation to fill out the hour.

This is a hugely important story, and it deserves nothing less that such a treatment. I count on Bill Moyer's Journal to take on tough issues -- but this story is the real test of that.

There should be an amendment to the constitution protecting whistleblowers. These are people that are privy to the wrongs that are done and take personal risks to try to correct things.

Sibel's claims speak to some very important issues, one of which was missed even with the above mention.

Nuclear "secrets" are what is alegged to have been given.

Also, the clear and very connected point for WHY it has all been silenced since 2002 besides the Nuclear aspects and that is the communication that Valerie Plame's under cover Company was not to be trusted.

These things require MORE on the part of exposing to the public, we are very happy that Sibels claims are mentioned, a full story ON PBS and not excusively on the Internet is more than required here.

Just a note to Bill Moyers re a book I just finished by Patricia O'Brien--"The Candidate's Wife", and Bill was quoted on the jacket praising it, and saying"I'm already waiting for the sequel-"The Candidate's Husband" !Maybe Bill canm write that one this year !

Daniel Ellsberg says the Sibel Edmonds story is potentially bigger than the Pentagon Papers. Yet it can't be reported except in the Dallas Morning News and the London Times. What a blackout! No wonder people increasingly get their news on line and newspapers lost money.

I knew about Sibel Edmonds before the 2004 election, but it was nice to see her covered on my teevee. Some of the bloggers have (including on of my favorites) been covering this for a while

Let me echo---a Sibel Edmonds piece would seemingly be in Bill's wheelhouse. Please do a segment on her on the Journal.

So, PBS/Moyers finally mentions something about something, especially the Sibel Edmonds case, though so shallow that it seems it was touched upon to keep critics who have "Pestered" PBS/Moyers to do their "job" and cover this topic in a serious and detailed way, quite and silenced. Unless I see serious discussion of the Edmond's case on TV in a 60 minute expose, I'll just continue to assume that Moyers and gang are as corrupt and sleazy as the Democrats and Republicans who have misruled and continue to destroy this nation for their own gain. I accepted shortly after 9/11 that the country was heading towards a right wing dictatorship and realized that change in this country can no longer come from the ballot box (even that is suspect with the advent of electronic voting), but by some other means long practiced and honed to a fine art in most 2nd and 3rd world counties.

The ironic thing is that Sibel Edmonds's claims revolve around wiretaps that she translated. So the Bush administration is trying to expand warrantless wiretapping while ignoring existing wiretap information about actual threats to our security.

Can't quite get on the bandwagon of praise here. The Edmonds story has been dying for coverage for a LONG time now. The UK Times has finally begun to investigate Edmonds' claims, but for US journalists (Moyers et al) the details of this explosive story of nuclear espionage remain completely off limits.

Pardon my saying so, but we are in dire shape indeed if this tiny spot draws such lavish praise, lacking as it does both investigative content and broadcast visibility.

Why wasn't this on the show? This is actual useful reporting, not another tired retread of kathleen hall jamieson repeating herself FOR YET ANOTHER WEEK>


Mr. Karr,

Will you please follow-up on Attorney General Michael Mukasey's lack of response?
I for one, depend on the dedication, professionalism, and shear onriness of muckrakers like you to ferret out the real stories and issues.

“The Bush Administration’s listening into phone calls and reading emails without search warrants” is a form of covert terrorism.
What country should Americans invade and destroy next in the name of ‘The War on Terror’ to stop it?
What does 'homeland security' mean in a country where our own homeland communiqués have no security?
Who or what is the real covert terrorist here?
The source of these questions is a concerned citizen named me.


This shows not just how hard it is for reporters but educators too. We are at a time when teachers have been cornered into testing, that means nothing except losing schools under NCLB. We can not get critical thinking to be the number one priority any more. Lynn Cheney helped America decide what students learn in the classrooms across the country and it is not Howard Zinn or Ms. Painter from last nights show. Maybe we should have the conservatives write all our news stories like they have written our humanities standards in school curriculum. Obama and Clinton want merit pay for teachers and that will not help. I know lets have teachers teach just the spin of the era they teach. Johnson told the truth about Vietnam. Nixon was not a crook. Wilson met Ho Chi Minh at the Paris Peace talks of 1919. Bush does not spy on us. HW Bush has nothing to do with NAFTA. Hilary takes on the credit card companies. Clinton never sold small arms to other countries. Steiglitz is wrong that the Pentagon is keeping two sets of money books on the Iraq War. Students do not need to know what was past and is prologue. Reality is being manipulated and educators are under the gun since the backlash of the 1960-70s to conform more and more every year. The Culture Wars are being ignored. If we lose an educated critical polis we are done for. We only have a little time left for free speech in the classrooms. It seems the newspapers are not far behind because this has already happened to teachers in America, just look at State and Federal Case law. Now people might take notice what is happening in school districts across the nation similar to what is happening to Risen and the FBI whistleblower. An educated public can only help news reporters who tell the truth, but that has scared the powerful elite since civilization has existed. A smart public demanding the ability to rise on the social ladder, that is class warfare! The Ravitch Language Police are on the March and I do not think it is the liberals. The old whigs are winning and they do not take Adam Smith along on their journey to opression! Thank you Rick Carr.

This nation is in great need of good reporting and the Bill Moyers' Show and David Bracaccio's NOW are ones that set the standard.
Thank you for reporting on the truths hidden by the press and the national media. Please keep up the good work!
Our nation has lost its tradition of honor and justice and this sliver of light on PBS is all we've got to lead us back out to freedom and redemption.

November 4, 2008

Barack Obama's sudden rise to the US presidency affirms, at long last, that 1st class citizenship belongs to all Americans.

Very well put. And how such traitors to our Constitution have been allowed to continue running the U.S. government for lo-these-many-years is a mystery to me.

Very nice piece of journalism. If only the American public were inundated with these kinds of quality stories, maybe we would have more informed voters... Tell it like it is, and thank you for doing so. I would like to see more of these types of stories, linking it all up to show the bigger picture. I'd also like to see a story on the exact stance of each of the 3 candidates on major issues. Health Care, The War, Our Economy, Education, Immigration, etc, etc. Short clips from each party with brief analysis by experts, and question by Bill. Thank you all for the work you are doing here. I look forward to my Fridays with you Bill!

While I agree with you Mr. Howard, let's face the sad truth: not even the mighty Moyer's Journal has the courage to interview David Griffin or any of the other respectable figures pushing for a new 9-11 investigation.

Right on, Grady. Have a good flight to Puerto Rico tomorrow. Rick Carr, What is the problem being taken off Mulkasey's journalism list? The quotes would never change:
"I don't know." "I don't recall." "I have no remembrance of being aware of that ."
Maybe he's "Alzheimer's" General.

Jack Martin and I asked the Journal to address the Sibel Edmonds case several weeks ago. The pertinent part of her Congressional testimony occurred in closed session. Ralph Nader and Daniel Ellesberg have written editorials in support of an investigation. We don't believe Bush/Cheney security classifications can be taken seriously anymore in that these are the types of issues that would be brought to bear as evidence in a prosecution of themselves and their cronies. Thank you (non-hostage) Rick Karr for taking responsibility on the matter of terrorized journalist James Risen. You demonstrate what a Rick Karr's Journal would be like: We suggest you start immediately. I look forward to your interviews with Ravi Batra (Greenspan's Fraud and also, The New Golden Age), Lester Brown (Plan B 3.0) and David Ray Griffin (The New Pearl Harbor and also, Debunking 9/11 Debunking) in the near future, and to the rebuttals and subsequent investigations which will inevitably arise. People deserve to know about more than a "horserace." (although Hillary is finally addressing the Blackwater issue) We shall see. We are behind you, Rick.

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