Monday, May 22, 2006

Publishing Leaks and the First Amendment

According to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, journalists who published leaked information, such as stories about illegal government surveillance programs, can be prosecuted under "some statutes on the book which, if you read the language carefully, would seem to indicate that that is a possibility." Specifically which laws might these be? He does not say. One wonders if those laws themselves are classified. Likely they are espionage laws not intended to apply to journalists.

I wonder if the A.G. realizes how ridiculous he sounds when he says things like that because Congress passed the laws before "we have an obligation to enforce those laws. We have an obligation to ensure that our national security is protected." Just like those 750 other laws congress passed that the administration is enforcing just as congress intended.

Even if you accept his premise here, the argument is still bogus. If in fact there is no program to listen in on the phone calls of tens of millions of Americans, then what state secrets are being revealed by these leaks? At this point, though, I cannot believe any word that comes from the President or any of his Administration anymore. They have consistency lied about their illegal, immoral, and just plain stupid actions only until presented with incontrovertible evidence to the contrary. And even then, they don't right their wrongs, they take revenge.

More likely is that the true breadth of this surveillance program is bigger than any of us can possibly imagine. Destroying our liberty in order to protect it. This is how tyranny starts.


At least there are a few people who refuse to kowtow to Big Brother's all encompassing demand for secrecy (in this case, it's AT&T who is claiming the secrecy). Wired News is publishing all of the contents of a file submitted to the court by Mark Klein, the whistle-blower and ex-AT&T employee.


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