U.S. President Barack Obama boards Air Force One as he departs Palm Springs, California to return to Washington February 17, 2014. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)
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Watchdog groups warn of eroding press freedom under ObamaThe day he took office, President Barack Obama promised to head "the most open and transparent" government in U.S. history.Five years later, American government secrecy is so tight that journalism groups fear the freedom of the press is under threat. That, in the view of the two watchdog groups, encourages authoritarian governments to press on with practices that include censorship, killings, kidnappings, and imprisonment.The Justice Department ordered the move as part of an investigation into who in the government leaked information for an AP story about a plot hatched in Yemen to bomb an airliner bound for the U.S. The phone records led government investigators to an FBI agent. He pleaded guilty of disseminating classified information and was sentenced to 43 months in prison.In another hunt for a government official who leaked classified information to a journalist, the government seized emails and phone records of a reporter for Fox News, James Rosen and his parents. Since 1917, only 10 people have been charged under that act for leaking classified information – seven of them by the Obama administration.
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