Saturday, April 29, 2006

1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984!!!

Welcome to the future:

Earlier administrations have fired and prosecuted government officials who provided classified information to the press. They have also 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 press and the government for many decades. Leaking in Washington is commonplace and typically entails tolerable risks for government officials and, at worst, the possibility of subpoenas to journalists seeking the identities of sources.

But the Bush administration is putting pressure on the press as never before, and it is operating in a judicial climate that seems increasingly receptive to constraints on journalists.


Because such prosecutions of reporters are unknown, they are widely thought inconceivable. But legal experts say that existing laws may well allow holding the press to account criminally. Should the administration pursue the matter, these experts say, it could gain a tool that would thoroughly alter the balance of power between the government and the press.

The administration and its allies say that all avenues must be explored to ensure that vital national security information does not fall into the hands of the nation's enemies.

The United States government cannot allow reporters to print information that is potentially embarrassing or politically damaging to the administration.

Officially sanctioned leaks, like the Libby leak of the National Intelligence Estimate to NY Times reporter Judy Miller, are okay.

War is peace, ignorance is strength, freedom is slavery.

...but this is really a two-pronged attack.

The other part is the neutering of the judiciary through repeated attacks on so-called "judicial activism". In this manner, the Juducial branch is relegated to second-class status and placed in a position where it can no longer serve as a check on the Executive, not to mention being able to protect the position of the press.
Here's an article that may interest you.
You're right, kvatch. Arresting government officials who leak and journalists who publish those leaks only works if they have a judiciary weakened enough to forfeit its oversight responsibilites. Obviously the Rubber Stamp GOP Congress had long ago forfeit its own oversight duties. It's a nice trifecta if you're karl Rove, GW, Cheney, et al.
thanks for the link, nyc educator. I heard about this, but I haven't had a chance to read it. Will do so later tonight.
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