Cheat-Seeking Missles

Friday, April 28, 2006

Journalists, Jail and Pulitzers

Former spy Ralph Peters just put a new book out. If his NYPost op/ed of today is any indication of what's between the covers, I'm buying myself a copy of New Glory: Expanding America's Global Supremecy.

Peters is writing about journalists who publish intelligence secrets during war time and win awards for it.

He begins with:
If a street-corner thug knowingly receives stolen goods for profit, he goes to jail. If a well-educated, privileged journalist profits from receiving classified information - stolen from our government - he or she gets a prize.

Is something wrong here?

And ends with:

If you draw a government (or contractor) paycheck and willfully compromise classified material, you should go to jail. If you are a journalist in receipt of classified information and you publish it to the benefit of our enemies, you should go to jail (you may, however, still accept your journalism prize, as long as the trophy has no sharp edges). And consider yourself fortunate: The penalty for treason used to be death.

When a journalist is given classified information, his or her first call shouldn't be to an editor. It should be to the FBI.

Hurrah! He also says leaks shouldn't come from the White House. I disagree, so long as the decision is presidential, not staff, because we must be able to count on our president to consider the impact of the leak on America, its troops and its agents. If a president were to put troops and agents at risk for political reasons, we the people would take care of that.

And no, Valery Plame, was not put at risk. She wasn't secret, she hadn't been posted overseas for some time, and she apparently wasn't operating any overseas networks.

hat-tip: Real Clear Politics
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