Sunday, May 21, 2006

Who Will Protect Americans From The Protectors?

Alberto Gonzales told George Stephanopoulos today that he believes U.S. law allows the government to prosecute journalists for publishing classified information.

"There are some statutes on the book which, if you read the language carefully, would seem to indicate that that is a possibility," Gonzales said, referring to prosecutions. "We have an obligation to enforce those laws. We have an obligation to ensure that our national security is protected."

Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said she presumed that Gonzales was referring to the 1917 Espionage Act, which she said has never been interpreted to prosecute journalists who were providing information to the public.

"I can't imagine a bigger chill on free speech and the public's right to know what it's government is up to -- both hallmarks of a democracy -- than prosecuting reporters," Dalglish said.

When the people who are supposed to protect Americans' safety use "national security" as a smokescreen to maintain secret policies that increase government power at the expense of constitutionally guaranteed freedoms; and when those same people turn around and use "national security" as a justification to threaten reporters with criminal charges for informing the public about those abusive secret policies, then it's time to ask who will protect our freedom from the protectors of our security.

Without a free press there is no national security, in the long run.

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