House mulls prosecuting journalists for reporting leaks

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Christian Science Monitor and Los Angeles Times report that after hearing testimony yesterday on recent national-security leaks, Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee looked into whether journalists could be prosecuted for reporting them.

Security expert Army Col. Ken Allard told the committee that reports on President Obama’s terrorist “kill list” and cyberattacks against Iran’s nuclear program threatened America’s safety. He also charged that the investigations were designed to aid the president’s re-election campaign.

When the committee considered revising the law to allow prosecution of leakers, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said reporters also should be prosecuted.

A legal expert answered a “qualified yes,” the Times said, when asked whether journalists could be prosecuted for reporting leaks affecting national security.

House Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Lamar Smith, R- Texas, said in a news release: “News publications that publicize classified information claim to promote increased government transparency. But I wonder if their real motivation is self-promotion and increased circulation.”

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