The US media seems to think that their job description includes deciding what information is and is not legal to leak and print- never mind that we elect Presidents, Senators and Representatives to do this, not members of the scribbling class. This arrogance and complete lack of care for their fellow Americans was famously demonstrated in the NSA and SWIFT banking exposes by the New York Times resident anti-Americans, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau.
However, these are not the only such cases. Recently, Risen has once again exposed classified data with the aid of hidden law-breakers in the government. In this case, Risen exposed a CIA-Mossad operation to destabilize Iran. Risen has been subpoenaed by a federal court to reveal who gave him this data, but predictably, he sees his mission of aiding America's enemies and assisting said enemies to kill American citizens as more important that assisting the government to uphold laws about leaking sensitive information. And equally predictably, the rest of the mainstream media is rallying to his defense. Haaretz, an Israeli news source, reported on the topic today, casting Risen in the role of victim.
According to Haaretz,
The Bush administration is prolonging the hunting season against journalists. The latest victim is James Risen, The New York Times reporter for national security and intelligence affairs. About three months ago, a federal grand jury issued a subpoena against him, ordering Risen to give evidence in court. A heavy blackout has been imposed on the affair, with the only hint being that it has to do with sensitive matters of "national security." But conversations with several sources who are familiar with the affair indicate that Risen has been asked to testify as part of an investigation aimed at revealing who leaked apparently confidential information about the planning of secret Central Intelligence Agency and Mossad missions concerning Iran's nuclear program.
Haaretz goes on to bring up the infamous Valerie Plame hoax to support their argument that the Bush Administratioj is 'waging war on journalists', repeating the false claim that Vice-President Richard Cheney's then chief of staff, L. Lewis Libby leaked Plame's name. As a matter of fact, it was State Department hack Richard Armitage who actually first mentioned Plame's name, though I am not sure how much leaking was involved concerning someone who was listed as a CIA employee in Who's Who!
Haaretz, in the person of reporter Yossi Melman, also seems to misunderstand the First Amendment. Melman says,
In Israel, military censorship would have prevented the publication of details such as these. But in the U.S., where the principle of freedom of the press is sacred and anchored in the constitution, there is no compulsory and binding censorship. There is, however, an expectation there that the press will show responsibility. This expectation has increased in recent years, particularly with the conservative Bush administration and in the wake of the events of September 11, 2001 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Yes, there is freedom of the press. And yes, the Bush Administration is (very slightly) more proactive in trying to enforce laws against criminal leaking that can get Americans killed- something both Risen and Melman obviously don't consider to be important. However, it has been long established that said freedom does not extend to assisting people to leak info to hurt the United States, nor are reporters allowed to determine what info should and should not be published. There are laws on the books about leaking information, and the Pentagon Papers case notwithstanding, government leakers are in fact breaking the law and reporters who then publish that info and refuse to cooperate can and in my opinion should be prosecuted as accomplices up to and including treason.
In the end, what Risen's source did was to leak information that assists the United States' enemies and hurts the U.S. That is treason, in addition to breaking the law on classified information. Risen surely knew what he was doing and gleefully published it in an attempt to hurt the Bush Administration, since he cannot or will not realize that he is not hurting the Bush Administration but rather hurting his own country- not that he would care about that. Risen strikes me as a person who would rather see Muslim fanatics running the United States than an elected Republican President. I hope that the court fines Risen and his employer to the full extent of the law and throws him into prison for as long as it takes to get him to testify. if he will not testify, then keep him in prison. He is an accomplice to his source's treason. That in itself is a crime, and he ought to be held responsible. And for the rest of the media, cheerleading for traitors exposes your own vested interests. be careful- the American people are slow, but not stupid and sooner or later they will wake up and demand compensation for your long-standing work to help destroy your own country. Cross-posted on StoneHeads.