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WP Says National Security Is Up To Editors

This is an excerpt from a Washington Post article published back in March.

The piece concerned the onset of FBI investigations into the egregious leaks of national security secrets at that time, including the "CIA prisons" and the NSA’s monitoring of Al Qaeda calls.

(This investigation probably lead to the the firing of the CIA officer Mary McCarthy, who was the presumed source for Dana Priest’s Pulitzer Prize winning articles on the "CIA prisons.")

But the comments expressed in the article by the Washington Post’s executive editor Leonard Downie seem to perfectly exemplify the hubris felt by the Post, the New York Times and much of our media watchdogs:

Columbia University President George Rupp (left) presents Katherine Boo and Leonard Downie, Jr., of The Washington Post, with the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

White House trains efforts on media leaks

Bush administration targets sources, reporters under espionage laws

By Dan Eggen
March 4, 2006

The Bush administration, seeking to limit leaks of classified information, has launched initiatives targeting journalists and their possible government sources. The efforts include several FBI probes, a polygraph investigation inside the CIA and a warning from the Justice Department that reporters could be prosecuted under espionage laws.

In recent weeks, dozens of employees at the CIA, the National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies have been interviewed by agents from the FBI’s Washington field office, who are investigating possible leaks that led to reports about secret CIA prisons and the NSA’s warrantless domestic surveillance program, according to law enforcement and intelligence officials familiar with the two cases.

Numerous employees at the CIA, FBI, Justice Department and other agencies also have received letters from Justice prohibiting them from discussing even unclassified issues related to the NSA program, according to sources familiar with the notices…

"There’s a tone of gleeful relish in the way they talk about dragging reporters before grand juries, their appetite for withholding information, and the hints that reporters who look too hard into the public’s business risk being branded traitors," said New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller, in a statement responding to questions from The Washington Post. "I don’t know how far action will follow rhetoric, but some days it sounds like the administration is declaring war at home on the values it professes to be promoting abroad."

President Bush has called the NSA leak "a shameful act" that was "helping the enemy," and said in December that he was hopeful the Justice Department would conduct a full investigation into the disclosure.

"We need to protect the right to free speech and the First Amendment, and the president is doing that," said White House spokesman Trent Duffy. "But, at the same time, we do need to protect classified information which helps fight the war on terror." …

Leonard Downie Jr., executive editor of The Post, said there has long been a “natural and healthy tension between government and the media” on national security issues, but that he is “concerned” about comments by Goss and others that appear to reflect a more aggressive stance by the government. Downie noted that The Post had at times honored government requests not to report particularly sensitive information, such as the location of CIA prisons in Eastern Europe.

“We do not want to inadvertently threaten human life or legitimately harm national security in our reporting,” he said. “But it’s important . . . in our constitutional system that these final decisions be made by newspaper editors and not the government.”

I didn’t know that the framers of the Constitution put the decisions concerning matters of national security in the hands of newspaper editors rather than an elected representatives.

Did you?

Despite these delusions, there are laws against what the our one party media have been so gleefully doing.

Such as US Code Title 18, Part I, Chapter 3, § 793:

Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information:

(e) Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any… information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted, or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it…

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

Though prison really is too good for them.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Tuesday, June 27th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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