Q&A Friday #33: Should The Media Face Legal Repercussions For Publishing Classified Info?

Question: “In the face of the severe damage done to our intelligence gathering efforts by the wiretapping story, what, if any, reforms do you think would correct the problems and environment that led to this disastrous leak?

Do you believe that our laws need changing to allow legal action against media outlets that publish such classified information that, if released, could (and did) cause grave damage to US national interests?” — Bone

Answer: Laws allowing the government to go after media outlets for publishing classified info could be too easily abused. So, that’s not something I would support.

Furthermore, it’s worth noting that the reason we keep having these damaging security leaks is not because of the media per se, it’s because we keep letting the leakers get away with it.

Every time there is a security leak that significantly damages our national security, like the leak of these NSA wiretaps, the Bush administration should make sure there’s a Patrick Fitzgerald on the case hunting down the leakers. You put some of these leakers in jail for 20 years and the blabbing will stop.

We don’t need new laws. We just need to enforce the ones we have.

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