Glenn Greenwald could be prosecuted.
I don’t think Glenn Greenwald will be prosecuted.
But do you think Glenn Greenwald should be prosecuted?
It depends in part on how damaging the information turns out to be. But isn’t there an argument to be made that if this offense is winked at, the next one will be worse? Is there any reason to let the security of the US hang on the judgment of journalists such as Greenwald and newspapers such as the Guardian as to what classified information is damaging to national security and what is not?
[NOTE: The law in question criminalizes the publication of:
…any classified information— (1) concerning the nature, preparation, or use of any code, cipher, or cryptographic system of the United States or any foreign government; or (2) concerning the design, construction, use, maintenance, or repair of any device, apparatus, or appliance used or prepared or planned for use by the United States or any foreign government for cryptographic or communication intelligence purposes; or (3) concerning the communication intelligence activities of the United States or any foreign government; or (4) obtained by the processes of communication intelligence from the communications of any foreign government, knowing the same to have been obtained by such processes…
I refer you also to a previous and much more lengthy piece I wrote on the subject. Also note that Britain—the place where the Guardian and Greenwald are operating—has much more stringent laws on this than we do. But since the present violation involves US secrets rather than British ones I don’t see how British laws would apply.
Here’s an excerpt from my previous post, written in 2006, but I suggest you read the whole thing:
]Did McCarthy (or whoever the leaker actually was) really have no avenue but the press? If the leaker’s conscience was troubled by confidential information gained in the line of duty, didn’t that person also have a duty to go through internal channels or to Congress? Was this ever done in the detention center case, or did the leaker simply cut to the chase (and the press), assuming an internal investigation would go nowhere?
When that process is short-circuited, the leaker unloads his/her information in the most public way possible, which can end up being the most damaging way. Right now the only people deciding how bad that damage might be before it occurs are the leaker him/herself–hardly the most objective judge of that–and the press (ditto). Once the story is published, it’s too late: the cat is out of the bag, the horse is out of the barn.
The judiciary was meant to act as the check and balance on potential leakers and the press–and in the past, of course, we also had more self-imposed restraint on the part of the press, especially in times of war. Now, however, not only does the press see itself in the role of government adversary and whistleblower, but personal repercussions are few and far between, short of treason (a very hard case to make in most situations).]