Should The New York Times Be Prosecuted?

New York Times

The al-Qaeda Intelligence Service, or as they call it in America, The New York Times, has a history of reporting classified information that has been illegally leaked to them. The Times claims that Americans have a right to know about these things and that they show that the Bush Administration is acting illegally. The legality of programs is up to the courts to decide, not the NYT. Be that as it may, the Times is on rather shaky grounds especially when one considers how they sat on stories that were potentially embarrassing to the Clinton Administration and that had no impact on national security. The Times knew about Lewinsky but held the story which was eventually broken by Matt Drudge.

The question is, should they be prosecuted for disclosing classified information? One thing that plays into the argument is the names of the people who leaked the information. There has been little disagreement that folks who leaked the information should be prosecuted. Groups like the ACLU perhaps have indicated that these people are whistle-blowers who should be protected. Deciding what classified information should be leaked is not up to the individuals who have access to it and they definitely committed crimes by disclosing. But where does the Times stand in all of this?

The NYT was vocal and their paper filled with stories demanding the detection and prosecution of the person or persons who were responsible for the supposed leak of Valerie Plame. It has been well documented that Joe Wilson, a third rate diplomat, lied about his trip to Niger. It has been equally well documented that Plame was not covert and certainly did not act like she was covert. That is a discussion for another time, the important point is, the NYT was out in front of the lynch mob looking for the leakers who they wanted put in jail. It is not hard to imagine the folks at the NYT foaming at the mouth when there were indications that Karl Rove was going to be indicted. He was not and the air was let out of their collective sails. There has been no indictment for this so-called outing and the only charges in the case deal with perjury (Clinton supporters will be familiar with that).

So the NYT demanded that the leakers be found and prosecuted. Why have they not demanded that the people who leaked classified information to them be prosecuted? The NYT knows who the leakers are because that is where they got their information. Yet, they remain silent on the identities of the people who broke the law. If the NYT is so concerned with leaks, as they demonstrated in the Plame case, why are they not revealing who gave them the information? Perhaps it is because the information could have been damaging to the President, who they do not like. When the identity of the leakers in the Plame case could damage the President, they wanted them outed but when leakers give them information potentially damaging, they protect them. This is a double standard and clearly demonstrates the liberal bias of the NYT and most of the media.

The NYT can claim that they have a freedom to print anything they want and that they broke no laws. For the sake of argument, let us assume they are correct. They did, however, know that the person giving them the information was breaking the law. They knew that the person who was telling them classified information had no legal grounds to do so but they received the information anyway. Suppose someone you know robs a bank. You know they robbed the bank and you had nothing to do with any part of the robbery. Now, that person gives you some of the money he stole and you know it is stolen money. Does that not make you guilty of receiving stolen goods? The NYT is no different. They knew they were receiving stolen goods from someone who was breaking the law.

In a free society we respect the freedom of the press though that is carried to extremes. We do, however expect our free press to be responsible. Printing classified information is not responsible journalism. I think the NYT will get a pass on printing what they did though they might suffer in the court of public opinion. I understand that a lot of subscriptions are being cancelled, which is a right the American people have. The NYT will probably not be prosecuted so long as they cooperate in the investigation of who leaked the information. The NYT has an obligation to disclose their sources because those sources broke the law. If the NYT and its reporters refuse to give up names then they should be prosecuted for aiding and abetting a criminal (or criminals). The Times will claim that they have a right not to disclose confidential sources or people to whom they promised protection. This is not true in the case of crime. No one, free press or not, has the right to hide the identity of people they know broke the law. That makes them guilty of harboring a criminal and they should be subject to the fullest extent of the law.

I believe this will be investigated and there will be a Grand Jury. Times reporters will be called in to testify and they will be asked who there sources are. If they refuse they can expect to serve time in jail. This is appropriate and we should keep them in jail for as long as it takes to get the information we need to bring the leakers to justice. The Times can not hide behind the First Amendment to protect criminals and the Justice Department should bring the full weight of the government to bear on them until they comply. Liberals will complain about the Stalinist techniques blah blah but they would do well to remember that they agreed to this when they demanded the identities of the people involved in Plame. We can not play by two sets of rules. If the public has a right to know who (supposedly) leaked Plame’s name then they have a right to know who leaked the classified information.

The Justice Department can get real ugly about this and start issuing subpoenas for every source that was involved in any leak. The Times would do well to cooperate so that the burden on them does not become greater. As for the leakers. They are traitors, plain and simple. They violated their oath of office and they broke the law. This is a time of war so those acts are especially heinous. Anyone found guilty of leaking the information should receive the maximum sentence allowed by law. They should serve every day of the sentence and not allowed parole.

I believe that if a few leakers are discovered and sent to jail for a long time, a lot of people will think twice before disclosing classified information. I bet if we hanged one of them for treason, out in front of the Capitol, there would be no more leaks. One more thing we need to do is revoke the press credentials of the NYT. They should not be allowed any where near the White House. It is obvious that they have been assisting people in committing crimes so they should not be allowed to be there. This can be a temporary measure to show the Times that if it continues to sponsor illegal activities it will never be allowed back in. They will cry that they have freedom of the press but the Constitution does not say that freedom provides exclusive access to any organization or individual. It just says they have the right to print what they want. Just because there is freedom of the press does not mean we have to talk to them.

Image from the New York Times

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One Response to “Should The New York Times Be Prosecuted?”

  1. Bosun says:

    It was treasonous in the time of war. I say, charge them. We are being destroyed from within the United States. I am sure that SCOTUS and this NY Slimes revealation is sending some much needed hope to the cave in the Afgahan – Pakistan border region. With friends like the liberals and MSM, we do not need any enemies.