Turley Testifies on Secret Orders Targeting The Media In Recent Leak Investigations

Today I will be testifying in the House Judiciary Committee on the use of secret surveillance and gag orders in recent investigations into unauthorized disclosures of classified information. The oversight hearing is in conjunction with investigations of Congress and the Inspector General following reports that the Department of Justice’s engaged in surveillance of Members of Congress, journalists, the White House Counsel and others.

The hearing will be held in Room 2141 of the Rayburn House Office Building at 10 am. The hearing is titled “Secrecy Orders and Prosecuting Leaks: Potential Legislative Responses to Deter Prosecutorial Abuse of Power” and will stream live here.  My testimony is below.

The panel shall consist of the following witnesses:

Mr. Tom Burt
Corporate Vice President, Customer Security & Trust, Microsoft Corporation

Ms. Eve Burton
Executive Vice President & Chief Legal Officer, Hearst Corporation

Ms. Lynn Oberlander
Of Counsel, Ballard Spahr LLP

Mr. Jonathan Turley
J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law, The George Washington University Law School

Here is my testimony: Turley Testimony.Final


38 thoughts on “Turley Testifies on Secret Orders Targeting The Media In Recent Leak Investigations”

  1. I like to catch crawdads with my kids. It is very hard to catch them barehanded, though I’ve done it. It is much easier to put a cup or a bucket behind them quietly while distracting them by wiggling your fingers in front of them. When they shoot themselves backwards to escape, it is easy to simply scoop them up in the waiting bucket.

    It seems to me people are rather like that, losing their freedom and liberty to a false right/left paradigm. Outraged or distracted by something threatening us one way, we retreat to the other, getting snapped up in the process, except in our case, it seems to be our freedoms, liberty, and ability to self-govern get snapped up bit by bit until we are wholly ensnared.

    That lovely game has been playing out over decades, but it has been in high gear in the past few years especially.

  2. Perhaps along with greater protection of freedom of the press, anti-trust legislation breaking up the huge media conglomerates and requirements for divulgence of finances for the mainstream media would be useful. It would be more difficult for a few, super-rich owners to manipulate the message of the media when strict limitations on ownership of multiple media outlets were in force.

  3. JT quotes Madison describing the importance of 1st amendment protections for the press, in the Defining Journalism section:

    “[a] popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance. And a people who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

    Having read through his testimony, I didn’t see him address the other elephant in the room; media propaganda, masquerading as real news. I fully support JT’s advocacy for 1st amendment protections for journalists that demonstrate a commitment to reporting provable facts consistent with Madison’s quote, but when journalists abuse that privilege to shield the government from having their abusive (unconstitutional) practices exposed, then there needs to severe consequences for violating that public trust.

    1. “Having read through his testimony, I didn’t see him address the other elephant in the room; media propaganda, masquerading as real news.”


      Here’s what a real News Outfit looks like. It’s operating on a small budget but look at some of the video they got Today.

      It’s of the Biden/Harris/Shumer/Pelosi/McConnell/McCarty Child Smuggling Rings & Replacement Population (Slaves) flooding the Southern Texas Border since Biden was sworn in office.

      It’s Illegal Lawlessness!!! The US is a Collapsed Narco Banana State.


      This is in addition to all the current under-reported Injuries & Deaths from the Experimental Gene Therapy cloaked as (Vaccine).

      Day After Day After Day.

      And hardly a word about the detainment & Torture of at least 500 Americans in a DC Gulag, that were peacefully assembled in DC on Jan 6.

      6 Months prison with No Bill Of Rights!

    2. Olly, every liberal in the country would like to see Fox News and One America muzzled for amplifying Trump’s election lies. So I don’t know ‘who’ you’re talking about with your pretentious references those ‘abusing the public trust’.

      1. Democrats used the excuse of Covid to ram through massive absentee ballot changes that would never have been permitted under normal conditions. (This was after Biden insisted on in-person voting in the primaries).

        Additionally, Democrats worked with the MSM and Big Tech to suppress crucial information about the criminal actions of Hunter Biden—denying voters crucial information about a candidate before the election.

        Additionally, Facebook and other Big Tech behemoths poured millions into ensuring a Democratic victory, using unprecedented tactics that states did not have time to assess or oppose:


        The MSM also spent the past four years pushing the Russiagate hoax, which was Democrats’ attempt to overturn election 2016.

        1. The MSM also spent the past four years pushing the Russiagate hoax, which was Democrats’ attempt to overturn election 2016.

          Now why oh why did Comey insist this needed to remain a state secret for decades to come?

          In his most promising sentence, he also said: “If circumstances warrant, the OIG will consider other issues that may arise during the review.”

          Let’s hope so because if the reporting and the surmises of the New York Times are correct, one leak being investigated is vastly consequential and unrelated to the Trump-Russia morass. It concerns a matter that former FBI chief James Comey in his memoir said must remain a state secret “decades from now.” It concerns the only one of Mr. Horowitz’s 2016 reports to be classified top secret and hidden away from the American people.

          The leak whose investigation Mr. Horowitz will be investigating, according to the Times, appeared in the paper on April 22, 2017. It revealed that Mr. Comey’s “unorthodox” actions in the Hillary Clinton email case were driven by an intercept that showed the Kremlin to be in possession of a Democratic “email or memo” that referred to a conversation in which Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch allegedly promised she wouldn’t let the Hillary investigation go too far.

          1. Olly, Trump’s stoking of civil war confirms he was, and is, a stooge for Putin

            1. The idea of a civil war started with the whole SJW/BLM movement, long before Trump.
              Since then, it has gone into hyperdrive with CRT, everything being racist, and the “woke” indoctrination not only in universities, but even K-12.
              It continues now with Biden’s all new war on domestic terrorism.
              Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi cover it quite well.

              1. The idea of a civil war started with the whole SJW/BLM movement, long before Trump.

                I would say the idea of civil war in America has it’s roots in the aftermath of the 7 Years War in 1763. 100 years later we overcame the Democrat’s efforts to keep this country from advancing toward the DoI vision. Now, Democrats are once again trying to regress this country into an 18th century dependence on the state and a 19th century segregationist race war. They’ve learned nothing from history. I have serious doubts more than 30% of Democrats believe in their hearts that this the right cause. Where are the heroes in Congress that will make that legacy move to end this radical effort to destroy our constitutional republic?

          2. Why would the IG be investigating a criminal matter?

            If Loretta did in fact tell the Russians she would keep the Hillary Investigation from following its logical end…..that is ….well…..treason (with a small T as the question of direct witnesses and the lack of a War involving Russia).

            A Federal Grand Jury and the FBI, CIA, NSA, and any other three letter organization should have been working that case.

            Talk about Election Tampering…..Lord love a Duck!

            1. I don’t believe it has been investigated to determine if it is a criminal matter.

              The email was not sent to the Kremlin, but allegedly intercepted by them.

        2. spthspth, everyone heard about the Hunter Biden story. But Trump’s unhinged behavior and mismanagement of the pandemic weighed more heavily on the public.

          1. Biden’s unhinged behavior, his and Harris lack of leadership are of more concern than anything Trump did.
            Trump did not mismanage the pandemic.
            The states did, especially those Blue states.
            JP Morgan released a recent analysis showing Red states were recovering significantly economically since they did the “neanderthal” thinking and re-opened their states, while Blue states continue to lag.
            Under Cuomo, NY state lags the most.
            We all know how FL did when it came to the pandemic vs CA or MI.

            1. UpstateFarmer, our left wing commenters now tell us of that Trump mishandled the pandemic. We never hear any specifics about how he mishandled it. They don’t want to discuss the ventilators made by General Motors or the hospital ships sent to New York and Las Angeles. No discussion of Trump ordering 3M to make more masks. https://www.forbes.com/sites/sergeiklebnikov/2020/04/08/trump-ordered-these-companies-to-make-medical-supplies-under-the-defense-production-act/?sh=31063cf470ae . They can’t seem to recall that Trump shut down travel from China as Nancy Pelosi strolled through China Town without a mask. They don’t want you to remember that the vaccine for COVID-19 was discovered in record time by Trumps enactment of operation warp speed. They could have found the reference I’ve provided in minimal time if they wanted to explore all sides to the question. They could have questioned their personal bias but they were afraid that they might hurt themselves. TDS is the self inflicted worm in their brains that has destroyed their intellect forever.

              1. This week House Republican are holding hearings on the origin of Covid that has killed almost 4 million around the world. The Dems priority is to focus in the insurrection that wasn’t. It is fashionable now to eat our own and ignore our enemies.

  4. OT

    “Bill Cosby to walk free after court overturns sex assault conviction”

    “Bill Cosby had his sexual assault conviction thrown out Wednesday — in a stunning ruling by Pennsylvania’s highest court that found a prosecutor’s decades-old agreement should have shielded him from criminal charges.”

    – New York Post

    The Obama Section of the Communist Deep Deep State wins again!!!!

    The Obama Coup D’etat in America prevails.

    Biden’s handler, Obama, decided a presidential pardon was beyond the pale – using the judicial branch was a no-brainer.

    The singular American failure is and has been the judicial branch, with emphasis on the Supreme Court.

    The judicial branch is totally corrupt.

    But, no, the Communist Deep Deep State did not steal the 2020 election from President Donald J. Trump, oh, heck no!

    “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    – Declaration of Independence, 1776

  5. Great to read your thoughts while not being channeled through the Fox goggles, Turley. Good points in your testimony. Great background. Thanks for posting.


    1. Anonymous eb, in reference to Professor Turley’s Fox goggles I must provide a link describing all of the Professor’s appearances on left leaning news programs and his writings for The N.Y. Times, The Washington Post and the L.A. Times. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Turley. eb has his goggles custom made with his initials engraved on each side. Wasn’t it kind of eb to give the Professor a backhanded compliment. Don’t you see, he’s trying to convey the kindness of his heart.

  6. You really write well when you want to.

    I read your entire testimony. It was excellent. This is why I follow you. Sure I disagree on some things or not see eye to eye with you on everything, but I never met anyone yet I agreed with all the time. But today, what you said to congress on our behalf, … this is why I follow you. Excellent testimony, and a stalwart defense of our rights to a free and unfettered press.

    Anyone who’s read any of my comments knows that I despise most of the media today, but I defend their right to still speak, even if I don’t like what they’re saying. I have the right not to listen. But I recognize the paramount importance of their being able to speak freely and without fear of retaliation for publishing unpopular speech. And you said it so well today. I love this here;

    “However, Madison articulated the reason for refusing a Faustian bargain in the limitation of the
    free press. It is not just that this is the “power which knowledge gives” but this is the very source
    of information that allows a free people to protect against tyranny. It is the guarantee, like free
    speech, that helps to guarantee the protection of other rights.”

    You articulated it very politely but in no uncertain terms reminded them that heading down the road of govt censorship of the press, is a deal with the devil. Madison rules.

    Thanks for doing it, really proud of you today. This is the Professor Turely, I remember.

    1. Karen, whatever one might think of Cosby’s adventures, he had already settled a civil suit long before the criminal charges were filed.

      From your article:

      “Cosby testified during four days of depositions by Constand’s attorneys and the civil suit was settled for more than $3 million in 2006”.

      1. Anonymous, Cosby has made numerous formal and informal financial settlements and payments to women who have accused him of sexual assault. He’s the poster child for past predicts future. He just couldn’t seem to stop himself.

      1. The Court was right to over turn Cosby’s conviction……the original Prosecutor realized he had a loser of a Case in Criminal Court….made the deal with Cosby that FORCED Cosby to testify truthfully under Oath in the Civil Case….which allowed Justice to be served in that Cosby had to settle the matter which he did.

        The Criminal Prosecution that followed violated the Deal.

        That was a dirty thing to do by the second Prosecutor…..and why the State Supreme Court over turned the Conviction.

        Cosby was ruined by the the Civil Case…..and the Criminal prosecution was a serious error by the second Prosecutor…..that hopefully will cost the State and t hat particular Prosecutor a lot of. money.

        Harken back to the Duke LaCrosse Team and the State Prosecutor named Nifong that wound up in jail himself, disbarred, and jailed himself for gross misconduct.

  7. Too bad Turley didn’t cover the fact that a wide swath of the media aka “the press”, in the classic sense of the word, have turned into Pravda like propaganda and/or pure political advocacy outlets instead of typical outlets of journalistic news. These propaganda outlets are a HUGE problem in the 21st century. Malcolm X said, “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”; these Pravda like propaganda outlets have pushed Malcolm X’s statement to absurdity with their intentional psychological manipulation of the masses. Giving additional protections for “the press” with a new federal shield law(s) will likely make the propaganda problems we are facing in the 21st century much, much worse. Far too many media outlets have shown themselves to be purveyors of ideological/political propaganda are not “the press”, in the classic sense of the word, that should be getting a virtually impenetrable legal shield against pure defamation, these news (I’m using that word rather loosely) outlets are not providing a service to the people they are pure propaganda outlets and an enemy of the people.

    Every new law passed and every new protection enacted for a specific group of people has negative consequences and those negative consequences MUST be weighed against any positive benefits.

    Remember; the defamation targets of Pravda like media outlets have civil rights too and the media has shown that they will intentionally abuse their rights as “the press” and hide behind defamation protections so they can destroy their targets, this is pure abuse of their rights and violating the rights of their targets. Give the press a new law protecting them even more and they WILL abuse that law too.

    At this point in time I am not in favor of giving any additional protections for “the press” because they have shown to me that in the 21st century they will abuse any protection they are given.

    1. Witherspoon, ‘who’ in your estimation should be supervising the media??

      All your references to ‘Pravada-like’ players just sounds like tired cliches from tired sack of lard.

      1. Anonymous asked, “‘who’ in your estimation should be supervising the media??”

        We the People should be “supervising the media” and if they don’t clean up their propaganda and return to ethical journalism then we need to hit them where it really hurts and stop sending them our dollars. As for those media outlets (or individual shows on “news” channels) that are pure partisan propaganda and no longer outlets of journalism like CNN and MSNBC and some shows on FOX News, they should be identified as PAC’s and regulated as such.

        Anonymous asked, “All your references to ‘Pravda-like’ players just sounds like tired clichés from tired sack of lard.”

        I disagree but you’re welcome to your own opinion about the use of “Pravda like” but you can shove your ad hominem straight where the sun doesn’t shine.

  8. The Questions I would pose to the Professor were I on that Committee…..”What is the obligation to be the purveyors of truth to the People that should be required of the “Journalist”?

    What requirement should be placed upon the Journalist to ensure that only the truth is being reported?

    When Anonymous Sources are used for the Journalist’s reporting….what Rules should be in place to ensure the veracity of those sources?

    What punitive actions should be available for the occasion a Journalist knowingly publishes false information?

    If the Journalist is to be afforded special protections….then should not the Journalist not be held to a higher standard?

    IMHO….today’s media has lost all semblance of impartiality and very much acts as a propaganda arm of a single political party and quite often knowingly publishes patently false information and does so with malice aforethought.

    Then, when proven to be wrong and shown to have known themselves to be wrong, there is neither admission of that or any punitive action taken.

    When all parties involved in foisting lies upon the People are. punished for that….in the media, in the government, and in the Big Tech companies….as well as the individual blogger…..there is no hope of turning this around.

    At this point….as much as I believe in the First Amendment…..I do not see the need to grant the Media yet more protection unless there is a punitive side to the legislation that will ensure the truth being published.

    In fact….I would remove ALL protections from the media and put them back on the standing with the ordinary Citizen until it can prove they have cleaned their own house to ensure they deserve the current protection yet alone additional protection.

    The Professor is exactly right that we need to re-define what a Journalist and Journalism is….and be far more inclusive.

    Despite all the abuses and criminal acts re the FISA Court system…..and all of the promises by the Federal Government to take effective action….how many people have been fired for cause and/or criminally prosecuted?

    The Government that itself is violating the law still thinks and does get away with prosecuting those who expose its wrong doing but does not prosecute the wrong doers.

    That is irrefutable and intolerable….and until that changes….this whole Congressional exercise is just a Circus Act complete with Clowns.

    1. If the Journalist is to be afforded special protections….then should not the Journalist not be held to a higher standard?

      With special protections comes special responsibilities; #1 being verifiably and objectively truthful. It is noteworthy that the press have been provided these protections so they would be free to monitor, expose and report government abuse of power. When was it decided that it would be a good thing for these watchdogs to endorse candidates and political parties? That would seem to be a dangerous conflict of interest. Should anyone expect the Des Moines Register or the Washington Post as examples, to report negatively about a candidate (and platform) after they had endorsed them? When the press flips and function as the praetorian guard of the political class, then what are the people to do?

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