Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Expose on New York Times

At last... a journalist not brown-nosing the bigshot MSM, and who dares to call the Times reporters who exposed the NSA monitoring problem the treasonous criminals they are.

IS THE New York Times a law unto itself? When the Times published its December 16 exposé of the secret National Security Agency electronic surveillance of al Qaeda-related communications, reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau noted that they had granted anonymity to the "nearly a dozen current and former officials" who were the sources for the story. Risen and Lichtblau stated that they had granted these sources anonymity "because of the classified nature of the program." Implicit in the Times's rationale is the recognition that leaks of such classified information are illegal.

That recognition is, of course, correct. Section 793 of the federal espionage law prohibits authorized persons possessing "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 . . . " from disclosing it to persons not entitled to it. Section 798 of the espionage law prohibits the disclosure of classified communications intelligence activities to unauthorized persons "in any manner prejudicial to the safety or interest of the United States or for the benefit of any foreign government to the detriment of the United States . . . " The violation of these statutes is a felony. Because their disclosures to the Times may fall within these statues, the "current and former government officials" referred to in the Risen/Lichtblau story sought the promise of confidentiality from the Times to protect their identity.

Assuming that these statutes apply to the leaks involved in the NSA story, has the Times itself violated the statutes and committed a crime? The answer is clearly affirmative. Section 798, for example, makes knowing and willful "publication" of the proscribed information a crime. Moreover, under the basic federal aiding and abetting statute--18 U.S.C. S 2--in willfully helping the leakers publish their disclosures, the Times is as culpable as they are, and punishable as a principal.

Mr. Johnson cites legal cases, including the Pentagon Papers (again the NYTs vs the USA back in 1971). But what is most interesting is the 2001 case of Bartnicki v. Vopper, 532 U.S. 514, where the court held that

..."the First Amendment protected the publication of lawfully obtained information that was itself obtained illegally. The Court held that federal law making it a crime to intercept and disseminate telephone conversations cannot constitutionally be applied to the media when they report on matters of public concern."

Uh hummm... this slaps two things in my face. First that, as I always feared, the very liberal makeup of our judicial system... itself above scrutiny and oversight... is protecting the liberal press with their decisions.

And secondly, ain't it amazing that we can't listen to AQ calling an American citizen in the Dims/Dems minds, but that the MSM *can* monitor and disseminate domestic phone calls without FISA approval. Da court says so.

Woof... VERY interesting reading from one of the PowerLine contributors. See in entirety at link above

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