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Attorney Gen.: Reporters Can Be Prosecuted

by Mark5019 / May 21, 2006 2:03 AM PDT


Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Sunday he believes journalists can be prosecuted for publishing classified information, citing an obligation to national security.

The nation's top law enforcer also said the government will not hesitate to track telephone calls made by reporters as part of a criminal leak investigation, but officials would not do so routinely and randomly.

"There are some statutes on the book which, if you read the language carefully, would seem to indicate that that is a possibility," Gonzales said, referring to prosecutions. "We have an obligation to enforce those laws. We have an obligation to ensure that our national security is protected."

In recent months, journalists have been called into court to testify as part of investigations into leaks, including the unauthorized disclosure of a CIA operative's name as well as the National Security Agency's warrantless eavesdropping program.

Gonzales said he would not comment specifically on whether The New York Times should be prosecuted for disclosing the NSA program last year based on classified information.

He also denied that authorities would randomly check journalists' records on domestic-to-domestic phone calls in an effort to find journalists' confidential sources.

"We don't engage in domestic-to-domestic surveillance without a court order," Gonzales said, under a "probable cause" legal standard.

But he added that the First Amendment right of a free press should not be absolute when it comes to national security. If the government's probe into the NSA leak turns up criminal activity, prosecutors have an "obligation to enforce the law."

yes this makes sence of :free speach"

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I was getting ready to post htis too,
by duckman / May 21, 2006 2:05 AM PDT

Hope this means there is an indictment coming soon

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loose lips kills people
by Mark5019 / May 21, 2006 2:07 AM PDT

time to pay the piper.
people need remeber were at war.

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by Evie / May 21, 2006 4:28 AM PDT

The First Amendment says Congress/Government cannot infringe on the freedom of the press it says nothing about immunity for anything "reported" that violates other laws!

Evie Happy

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News flash: the earth is round.
by Ziks511 / May 22, 2006 6:20 PM PDT

Of course they can and should be prosecuted if they endanger National Security. I never figured out why Jack Anderson didn't go to jail for his outing of CIA people half a million years ago, or for a number of the other things he got away with. I will refrain from mentioning the current press person I think should be in jail for the same reason, but it still puzzles me.

Nobody seems to be writing the big stories like the Pentagon Papers stories that were worthwhile and close to the edge. It's like news reporters went to sleep under Jerry Ford and haven't wakened yet. Gives me a giant pain. What use is a free and unfettered press when they won't do their job, and have just become a mimeograph machine for press handouts?


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