White House could prosecute journalists in news leak stories | IndyStar.com — So now only the White House will be the leaker. It would be OK for them to leak for political gain, right? Charming. Let’s just make Bush the King and get it over with.

Earlier administrations have fired and prosecuted government officials who provided classified information to the media.

They also have tried to force reporters to identify their sources.

But the Bush administration is exploring a more radical measure to protect information it says is vital to national security: the criminal prosecution of reporters under the espionage laws.

Such an approach would signal a thorough revision of the informal rules of engagement that have governed the relationship between the media and the government for many decades.

Leaking in Washington is commonplace and typically entails tolerable risks for government officials and, at worst, the ossibility of subpoenas to journalists by prosecutors seeking the identities of sources.

found by Alex Cohen



  1. Seth says:

    Maybe I’m wrong but when a reporter releases information given to them by government official then it’s not a leak, at least on the part of the reporter. Why not go after the guy who told the reporter?

    Maybe this sounds a bit conspiracy-theory ish but my guess here is that they don’t want to fire government officials for leaking information for fear they might turn on their former bosses and start leaking more news worthy information. Just a thought.

  2. Greg Albright says:

    I would say something but Im afraid the administation would classify it by fiat (a power they also claim) and throw me in jail.

  3. malren says:

    This is frigging ridiculous. When the stakes were just Steve Jobs’ secrets, I said Apple had no right to go after Think Secret as Think Secret had no moral or legal obligation or agreement with Apple.

    Now the stakes are SO much higher…but the same logic applies. There is a viable, legitimate avenue for real whistleblowers to be heard without breaking the law. However, once they spill secrets, it;s out. No newspaper in the world has any obligation other than what they set for themselves about keeping government secrets.

    The law should be simple and clear: Under no circumstances can a reporter ask for or seek out classified information. All contact must be made by the whistleblower.

    If they have broken the law by blowing a whistle, then the law should go after them, not the reporters.

    Lastly…and y’all need to learn this: The White House has the discretion to classify and declassify any damn thing they want. Always has. Always will. Get over it.

  4. blank says:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    I mean, isn’t this exactly “abridging the freedom of the press”? Have these morons even read the Constitution?

  5. Allen McDonad, Ell Gallovijeo® says:

    ‘ Let’s just make Bush the King and get it over with.’
    Pardon me for stating the obvious Sr. Dvorak et al, Little George has ALREADY made himself the King. ¿ How ? We allowed him do it. It’s a done deal.
    Yeah, Malren, and your wife has the discretion to screw anyone she wants to and if you get the clap as a result of her discretion, well then, just get over it, bro. The same logic applies.

    Allen McDonald, El Galloviejo®

  6. Uncle Dave says:

    If this is put in place, how would the White House ever get things leaked? No reporter would take the chance of printing something.

  7. Paul says:

    This seems to be a trend in modern America. Whether it is the Bush Administration with its obviously draconian measures or power blocs like the RIAA, your freedom of speech is going right out the window together with any other civil liberty which may be inconvenient to whomever controls Congress with all that money.

    This type of governmental interference is something you would expect in a country like Zimbabwe. Here, in South Africa, we do have our share of “” but even our government would dare pull a stunt like this … yet!

  8. Jim says:

    So let me understand this. Its ok to publicise classified national security information as long as you are a reporter.

    But don’t reporters rail against people who maintain they are above the law.

    This is really confusing.

  9. Rick says:

    What a shame. Non of you actually get it.

  10. Uncle Dave says:

    Rick, we get it. Bush wants complete control of the media so when they do something wrong, we the people can’t find out about it. What else is there to “get?”

  11. Gary Marks says:

    The Administration simply wants to make sure that the next time we’re attacked by terrorists, the entire American public says “Why would they do that to us? We’re such nice people. We never did anything to them.” Then our own ministry of information will tell us their version of why we were attacked, things like “they hate us for our freedom!” The ultimate goal is to be able to spoon feed us our information and world view in an easily digestible form.

    I admit leaks can be dangerous to national security, like the leak that exposed Valerie Plame’s identity and endangered her foreign contacts, making it impossible to continue her job working to control WMD proliferation. But other leaks have a beneficial effect by exposing secret government policies and practices that run counter to our national purpose and ethical standards. Sometimes we have a right to know what the government is doing in our name, especially when we’ll have to bear the consequences. Prosecuting the journalists is a development that could have scary implications.

  12. Jim Dermitt says:

    Maybe they’ll just mail out self prosecution kits.
    Next we’ll have a DIY death penalty program because it saves the government money, we need to rebuild Iraq. Turn your office chair into an electric chair. Maybe you can start a Dvorak Court, like Judge Judy and hold hearings via a blog. You could use people at the Dvorak Cage Match site as jurors. Judge John C. Dvorak, Superior Court of the Blogosphere, presiding. You could take the state to court over not following your orders to break it up into three states. There’s no business like show business.

  13. doug says:

    hmmm … information is no longer secret once it has been leaked, since someone without clearance now knows about it. also, how are you supposed to know that it has been formally classified as secret? presumably many people in Europe (for ex) knew about the secret CIA prisons and rendition flights, so can we really say that it was actually classified?

    and I want to know this – how did revealing it harm the national security of the US. did the terrorists previously think they would be flying the Concorde and staying at the Ritz if they were captured?

    What it actually did was embarrass the US and some of the cooperating countries. embarrassment does not harm national security.

  14. AB CD says:

    What’s the point of claiming courage if the reward is a Pulitzer. It’s only when reporters face possible jail time that they might be able to claim courage. We’ve already seen lots of editors back down over hypothetical Muslim violence.

  15. joshua says:

    A point made AB CD…..what is it that makes editors and publishers back down to Muslim fundementalists but not to their own goverment?

    Ahhhhhhhhh…maybe because the Muslim’ s will damn right kill their butts, but their own goverment might, arrest them, but probably not, since we have a constitution that gives them freedom.


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