(Don’t) Blame the Messenger: What to Do about National Security Leaks

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4 Responses

  1. Joe says:

    The more prosections than past administrations
    combined should factor in at least two things:

    (1) Mass media today makes the power of leakers
    and the ease of broad transmittal of lots of
    material different in scope than even ten years

    (2) We are talking small numbers. SIX according
    to the article linked was prosecuted.

    Also, the media especially MSM is thought to have
    certain checks such as editorial judgment different
    than single leakers who can leak to whomever.

    I welcome this discussion as a whole.

  2. Heidi Kitrosser says:

    Great post, Mary-Rose. And very thoughtful comment from Joe. Just one thought on Joe’s point about the small # of prosecutions — that’s absolutely right and a well taken point, but there’s a much larger risk of a chilling effect on potential sources. The chilling effect is especially worrisome given the wide discretion that the Espionage Act gives administrations to pick and choose whom to prosecute — the risk being that those who leak information that an administration will find unwelcome have most to fear. Indeed, I’ve talked to and also read some comments from journalists to the effect that they’re seeing the rise in prosecutions, as well as a rise in tactics like 3rd party subpoenas to find journalists’ contacts, having a real chilling effect on sources.

  3. Howard Wasserman says:

    Isn’t your first hurdle Garcetti and Connick and the morass that is public-employee speech? Any “right to leak” can’t even begin to kick in until you do something about the fact that employee speech rights are so limited.

  4. Joe says:

    As to Heidi Kitrosser’s comment, thanks and to clarify, I’m not copacetic about “only” that many but I think without context the citations (which I have seen repeatedly) is misleading.

    I take seriously the concerns you cited.