Saturday, May 25, 2013

"Do ask, do tell": The press needs to "ask" when pursuing major national security stories (Washington Post)

The Washington Post, in an editorial this morning (Saturday, May 25), went down my “Do Ask Do Tell” path, with a criticism of an FBI probe of Fox news correspondent James Rosen.  The piece is called “The freedom to ask: The government went too far by calling a journalist a co-conspirator” in print; online, it is “The press must have the ability to ask questions”.  The link is here

The government apparently claimed that Rosen was prompting a leak source , Jin-Woo Kim, to disclose classified information,  As a follow on, there does seem to be no prosecution of the reporter likely. But the Post notes that Obama seems much more aggressive about leaks, and even reporters who may prod them, that was Bush.

The “obvious” question would be, what if an independent blogger had probed someone for a “leak”?  Could the legal ramifications be different?

In an asymmetric world, it is possible for bloggers independent of the “established press” to stumble on possibly critical information or major and novel threats  -- the “see something, say something” problem.  I have actually spoken to authorities a few times over the years about information passed to me, resulting in one telephone conversation with the FBI in Philadelphia in 2005.  

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