Qatar’s influence operations took an ominous turn when Elliott Broidy, a top Trump donor, had his emails hacked by individuals he alleges were Qatari agents.
"We have reason to believe this hack was sponsored and carried out by registered and unregistered agents of Qatar seeking to punish Mr Broidy for his strong opposition to state-sponsored terrorism," Broidy's spokesman said.
These two incidents of alleged Qatari espionage against Americans in order to influence our foreign policy raise serious questions.
The material was handfed to the media which then tried to turn Elliot Broidy into the latest villain in their Trump gallery. But Broidy didn't give up. He went after the lobbyist-hacker-reporter Qatar axis and came back with scalps. Those included evidence that reporters, Qatar's registered agents and the hackers were colluding. So now the media is playing defense and crying, "How dare you complain about our collusion with foreign governments and their hackers trying to influence American politics by leaking the email contents of their targets?"
I'm confused. Doesn't the whole Russia Trump conspiracy theory rely largely on this very thing?
But here's BuzzFeed's media privilege voxsplainer.
Lawyers for Elliott Broidy, the disgraced American businessman and Republican fundraiser who claims Qatar hacked his emails to leak them to journalists, have successfully subpoenaed phone records showing that reporters who wrote about him spoke repeatedly with a former lobbyist for the Persian Gulf nation before writing their stories.
Broidy's lawyers revealed they'd received the phone records in a court filing late Monday in which they described the records as “voluminous” and said they linked Nick Muzin, who once was registered as a lobbyist for Qatar with the Justice Department, to reporters who subsequently wrote stories about Broidy. They offered to make the records available in court.
But now that's a threat to the First Amendment.
The use of a subpoena in civil court also runs the danger of circumventing state laws that are intended to shield reporters from having to reveal their sources, said Lynn Walsh, a member of the board of the Society of Professional Journalists.
“Is this going to set potentially a precedent? Are more people going to do this to get around state shield laws that do protect sources, and ... make journalists vulnerable to this type of exposure?” Walsh said.
Maybe journalists shouldn't be profiting from stolen items.
If the media hadn't insisted on repeatedly exploiting stolen emails, email hacking wouldn't be an international spectator sport. Freedom of the Press is not a pass to commit crimes, to collude with foreign criminals or to become an accessory to crimes after the fact.