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HOW TO STOP DANGEROUS PRESS LEAKS

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By Michelle Malkin  •  December 26, 2005 11:16 AM

So, President Bush is now begging newspaper editors to stop publishing classified information obtained via illegal leaks. Howard Kurtz reports:

President Bush has been summoning newspaper editors lately in an effort to prevent publication of stories he considers damaging to national security.

The efforts have failed, but the rare White House sessions with the executive editors of The Washington Post and New York Times are an indication of how seriously the president takes the recent reporting that has raised questions about the administration’s anti-terror tactics.

Here’s an idea. Instead of going hat in hand to the liberal media elite to prevent these security-compromising disclosures, the White House should try this:

1. Strengthen collective spine.
2. Subpoena reporters.
3. Find the leakers.
4. Prosecute the lawbreakers.

Six days ago, the President said he had not ordered an investigation into the leak, but that, “There’s a process that goes on inside the Justice Department about leaks. I presume that process is moving forward.”

Well, is it?

Jack Kelly, who blogs at Irish Pennants, writes in his latest Toledo Blade column:

It is despicable, but not illegal, for the news media to publish vital national secrets leaked to them. But the leakers have committed a felony.

Those who have demanded severe punishment for whoever it was who told reporters that Valerie Plame worked at the CIA have been remarkably forgiving about who leaked the existence of the NSA intercept program, which – like the earlier leak of secret CIA prisons for al-Qaeda bigwigs and unlike the Plame kerfuffle – has done serious harm to our national security.

But fortunately, by clapping New York Times reporter Judith Miller in irons until she talked, overzealous special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has set a valuable precedent.

Attorney General Gonzales should subpoena Mr. Risen and Mr. Lichtblau, and have them cited for contempt of court if they do not disclose their source or sources. Maybe they could share Judy Miller’s old cell.

***

AJ Strata
is keeping an eye on recently resigned FISA Judge James Robertson.

Fausta at The Bad Hair Blog is fed up.

***

Reader S.M. e-mails:

I’m certain you get numerous e-mails such as this one following any item you blog about regarding leaking classified information. My fiancee and I both work in the defense industry and hold security clearances of varying degrees. What strikes us both, and anyone else in our sphere of professional aquaintances, is the seeming double standard in place where the protection of classified information is concerned. While it seems that senior managers (and I use “manager” as a term of derision) and policymakers are cozy enough with the oversight comittees and agencies that they feel at liberty to divulge carefully selected pieces of classified information whenever it suits their purpose, I *KNOW* that anyone at my level would be swiftly and thoroughly wrung out following anything but the most benign security violation.

For example, if I should happen to accidentally leave my cellphone in my briefcase and bring it into a SCIF or other classified area, I would be guaranteed a trip to the security office to explain the breech of policy, sign a counseling statement and perhaps be re-briefed on local security policy. Two or more such violations would likely result in a suspension of my clearance or an outright revocation of such. This would kill me professionally and financially. Additionally, if I were to deliberately place a phone call to the editor of a national media outlet to discuss classified information, or willfully stuff classified documents down my trousers, I would be standing before the security officer as the first step towards prosecution under the laws that I am subject to in regards to my job. This does not seem to be the case for those at higher levels of “management” than mine.

…This double-standard cannot stand and I worry that the ongoing leaks that do not result in any attempt to prosecute the guilty parties may set a dangerous precedent in the future. This topic needs to have the spotlight thrown on it for open examination by people of all political stripes, and the electorate of this country needs to know that national security, both in policy and in practice, is a joke.

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Posted in: Howard Kurtz

Attention, Howard Kurtz

November 13, 2008 10:27 AM by Michelle Malkin

Fight the smears.

Earth to Howard Kurtz

September 12, 2008 04:59 PM by Michelle Malkin

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Triple-snort-worthy.

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March 26, 2007 01:37 PM by Michelle Malkin


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