Tuesday, May 23, 2006

AG Gonzales says reporters will be prosecuted

US Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, in the wake of the revelations about the telcos handing call data to NSA, and the admission that the data on journalists' calls would be closely scrutinised, has now said explicitly that reporters telephone calls will be tracked and reporters will be prosecuted where necessary because the adminstration has an "obligation to ensure that our national security is protected." He cushioned this somewhat by saying it would not be done routinely or randomly.

Does that mean that the journalists and publications who published the identity of a CIA employee, the wife of former ambassador Joseph Wilson, would be prosecuted under this standard, as well as or instead of the officials who leaked her name?

Update: Prof. Geoffrey Stone, a well known constitutional scholar at Chicago Law School, has published an excerpt from a memo he submitted to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on the press's publication of unauthorized disclosures of classified information. He basically says what Gonzales is proposing is a bad idea. Stone published a great book a couple of years ago, Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime from the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism

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