Bill Bennett Says Pulitzer Prize Recipients Are More Worthy of Jail Than Awards

To be sure, this year’s Pulitzer Prize announcement has generated quite an outrage. Almost universally throughout the conservative blogosphere, the revelation that three of the recipients wrote stories about top-secret military information that conceivably compromised America’s War on Terror met with shock and dismay.

No better example of such disgust was apparent Tuesday than on the radio program of Bill Bennett. As reported by Editor & Publisher: “On his national radio program today, William Bennett, the former Reagan and George H.W. Bush administration official and now a CNN commentator, said that three reporters who won Pulitzer Prizes yesterday were not ‘worthy of an award’ but rather ‘worthy of jail.’" The article continued: “He identified them as Dana Priest of The Washington Post, who wrote about the CIA's ‘secret prisons’ in Europe, and James Risen and Eric Lichtblau of The New York Times, who exposed the National Security Agency's domestic (a.k.a. terrorist) spy program.”

E&P continued:

“According to an E&P transcript of the audio of his radio program, Bill Bennett said that the reporters ‘took classified information, secret information, published it in their newspapers, against the wishes of the president, against the request of the president and others, that they not release it. They not only released it, they publicized it -- they put it on the front page, and it damaged us, it hurt us.

“‘How do we know it damaged us? Well, it revealed the existence of the surveillance program, so people are going to stop making calls. Since they are now aware of this, they're going to adjust their behavior . . . .on the secret sites, the CIA sites, we embarrassed our allies....So it hurt us there.’”

Bennett incredulously continued:

"'As a result are they punished, are they in shame, are they embarrassed, are they arrested? No, they win Pulitzer prizes - they win Pulitzer prizes. I don't think what they did was worthy of an award - I think what they did is worthy of jail, and I think this investigation needs to go forward.'"

As is typically the case when the normally unflappable Bennett gets so riled in public, his disgust with this awards announcement is likely shared by many Americans irrespective of party affiliation.

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