Author Topic: Why locking up leakers makes sense  (Read 3263 times)

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Offline mayya

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Why locking up leakers makes sense
« on: January 29, 2015, 12:02:12 PM »
Why locking up leakers makes sense


Jan 29th 2015, 4:22 BY D.R. | NEW YORK
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JAMES RISEN was prepared to go to jail to protect his source. 

In 2006 the New York Times reporter (pictured) published a book that revealed a covert American plot, in which a former Russian scientist fed flawed nuclear component designs to Iran. It claimed the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had bungled the operation. The Justice Department promptly began investigating who had leaked the classified information, and identified Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA employee who was suing the agency for racial discrimination, as the likely culprit. It duly subpoenaed Mr Risen, the only witness to this illegal disclosure. But he refused to name his contact, to whom he had promised anonymity.

The last time prosecutors tried to make a reporter reveal a source, Judith Miller, who also wrote for the Times, spent 85 days in jail in 2005 for keeping mum. Barack Obama’s administration has pursued leakers with unprecedented aggression: the government has charged nine alleged leakers on his watch, compared with three under all previous presidents. Mr Risen challenged the subpoena, claiming that freedom of the press exempted journalists from the obligation to testify required of any other citizen. But judges found otherwise: last year the Supreme Court let stand a ruling that the constitution offered reporters no special protection.

The stage seemed set for another journalist to become a martyr. But this case offered two surprises. The first was that after securing a precedent that the government had the power to make reporters sing, Eric Holder, the outgoing attorney general, decided not to use it. True to his vow that “no reporter who is doing his job is going to go to jail” on his watch, he instructed prosecutors not to make Mr Risen unmask his source. That appeared to doom the case.
However, on January 26th the jury defied expectations and convicted Mr Sterling anyway. Even without Mr Risen’s testimony, the prosecutors amassed a strong circumstantial case. They used phone records to show that the two were frequently in contact, and convinced the jury that Mr Sterling was the only person with access to the information and the ability and desire to leak it. In theory, Mr Sterling could face decades in prison, though the judge is likely to impose a more lenient sentence and his lawyer promises an appeal.

If upheld, the verdict will dramatically change the unwritten rules of the cat-and-mouse game played by reporters, sources and prosecutors. On the one hand, potential leakers should be reassured that journalists are unlikely to have to choose between their vow of confidentiality and their freedom. On the other, that is no longer a guarantee that sharing prohibited information will go unpunished. Reporters will need to take extra care not to leave a digital trail, which will make finding and approaching sources harder. And the threat of jail time will make the people they contact think twice about whether they are blowing the whistle on grave misconduct, or leaking sensitive information for less lofty reasons.

The conflict between society’s desire for a vigorous free press that holds government to account and its need for the state to keep secrets from foreign enemies can never be resolved. But Mr Risen’s reprieve and Mr Sterling’s conviction could shift the balance in the right direction.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2015/01/press-freedom-and-national-security

Offline Riney

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Re: Why locking up leakers makes sense
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2015, 15:37:03 PM »
 "Barack Obama’s administration has pursued leakers with unprecedented aggression: the government has charged nine alleged leakers on his watch, compared with three under all previous presidents."


  This statement about Obama's record on pursuing leakers does get stated a lot, but I want to add my opinion about it. The number of leakers being charged during his time in office has gone up, but also the number of people leaking information has gone up even higher proportionally. 

   Leaking has been popularized and the way that data is being stored these days is even making it easier to leak. Both Chelsea Manning and Ed Snowden were able to leak mountains of secret government data without being detected. 

   So yeah, Obama's administration has charged a lot more leakers, but I do not believe it is because he is much more aggressive about it, it is just that he has a ton more leakers than the prior administration.  

   Also, I completely agree with the quote below.... 

    "The conflict between society’s desire for a vigorous free press that holds government to account and its need for the state to keep secrets from foreign enemies can never be resolved."


     
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage" Anais Nin .. and yet we must arm ourselves with fear

Offline Elaine Davis

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Re: Why locking up leakers makes sense
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2015, 17:04:49 PM »
The stage seemed set for another journalist to become a martyr.-quote from article

While I agree with the gist of the article on locking up leakers (not all leakers IMO), makes sense, ....I have to wonder if the 'journalist becoming a martyr' won't become the new readily accessible category (syndrome) for journalists who leak sensitive information ..... once a journalist is popped into that category, he is readily discredited for conveying any truth in his stories, which leads to smoke and mirrors. Smoke and mirrors for the truth in the content of his stories.

The public will only see the smoke and mirrors the name JOURNALIST BECOMING A MARTYR gives the journalist and the truth he may convey. And somewhere in between the new smoke and mirrors within the smoke and mirrors already present, the truth will be just that much harder for the public to sift.


The issues of public knowledge, privacy, truth and organization are at tug of war at present. So many of us are confused about what truth is. If our journalists become literally or completely discredited, who then must we trust for the public truth??



JMHO of course.
GOD FORBID THE LIGHTS GO OUT and a zillion brains have to be retrained to function in manual reality.

Does anyone else get the idea that the tweets on the WL account are starting to sound a little like someone is bathing in a bird bath, eating bird food & possibly smoking bird * in his own sphere??