Many thanks to Danielle Citron for inviting me to serve as a guest blogger. Lately I have been following the discussion about the most recent series of national security leaks, including those that detailed the White House’s terrorist “kill lists,” the foiling of a terrorist plot by a double agent in Yemen, and cyberattacks against Iran. Outrage about leaks is hardly new. Neither are leaks. (See my prior article detailing the long history of leaks in this country.) What is new is that the outrage this time around seems to be directed at the leakers and not at the media outlets that published the leaked information.
Back in December 2005, when the New York Times published its story about the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program, the paper and its reporters were condemned just as vigorously as the leakers themselves. It is interesting to think about why the politicians and commentators have held their fire against the media after this latest round of leaks (at least so far). Perhaps critics’ suspicions that these leaks were politically motivated during an election year to make President Obama look like a strong leader has made them forget to take their usual shots at the “liberal media” that disseminated them to the public. But given that leaks often appear politically motivated, this answer is not all that satisfying.