Saturday, April 29, 2006

Dana Priest Responds to Criticism of Secret Prisons Story

E&P printed Bennett either doesn't understand the law or is purposefully distorting it. He keeps saying that it is illegal to publish secrets. It is not.

Let's find out. Indite Dana Priest for printing what she printed, and the NYT reporter for printing about the wiretaps of Al Qaeda talking to their cells in the US, and let us see whether they go to jail or not. And if they don't let us strengthen the law.
There is a category of secrets that is illegal to publish--names of covert operatives, certain signal intelligence and nuclear secrets--but even with these, prosecution is possible only under certain circumstances.
Would you expose those if you did not think you would be prosecuted?
Beyond that though, he seems to be of the camp that the government and only the government should decide what the public should know in the area of national security.
Certainly if something is classified, it is not up to the press to decide it should be declassified.
In this sense, his views run contrary to the framers of the Constitution who believed a free press was essential to maintaining not just a democracy, but a strong, vibrant democracy in which major policy is questions are debated in the open.
Freedom of the press was to protect the opposition seeking to state its case, not to allow reporters to declassify government secrets. That is treason.

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