A bill to protect cowards

Mike McConnell:

The Senate is considering a proposal that would bestow a "privilege" on reporters, shielding them from revealing confidential sources of important national security information, even when their sources have broken the law by disclosing classified information. The intelligence community recognizes the critical role that the news media plays in our democratic society. However, this bill would upset the balance established by current law, crippling the government's ability to investigate and prosecute those who harm national security.

I have joined the attorney general, the secretaries of Defense, Energy, Homeland Security and Treasury, and every senior intelligence community leader in expressing the belief, based on decades of experience, that this bill will gravely damage our ability to protect national security information. Unauthorized disclosure of classified information disrupts our efforts to track terrorists, jeopardizes the lives of intelligence and military personnel and inhibits international cooperation critical to detecting and preventing threats. Those who illegally disclose information recklessly risk our national security and breach a sacred public trust.

...

Many of the people who would seek the protection of this bill are political cowards who are trying to ambush opponents while hiding behind a veil of ambiguity. They don't have the courage to speak out and accept the consequences if it means their job or jail time. By hiding their sources the media also hides the motivations of the leaker who may not be as altruistic as the media presents them. These anonymous sources from the CIA have conducted a clandestine war against the Bush administration since the war in Iraq exposed their inadequacies.

Allowing them to violate the law and the oaths they took when they got the job is not in the public interest. If they have something important to reveal they can tell it to Congress and take their chances.

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