Why the anti-leaks bill is so scary

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Sen. Ron Wyden is the only one stopping a very bad anti-leaks bill

If a bill that is now before the US Senate were in place in 2005, none of us would know about the CIA's secret offshore prisons. There's a lot of other secret stuff that never would have made it into print, too.

And the really scary thing is that Sen. Dianne Feinstein is pushing this, and only one member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) voted against it -- and if if weren't for his single-handed moves to block the measure, it would probably already be law.

I think Len Downie has one of the best arguments against the measure:

The most troubling provision in the bill would prohibit all contact with the news media or “any person affiliated with the media” by any intelligence officials other than an agency’s director, deputy director or “specifically designated” public affairs officers — all of whom are political appointees. That could limit the flow of intelligence information to what political appointees decide to tell reporters, in “authorized leaks,” for political purposes. Reporters could be cut off from more knowledgeable and impartial career analysts, such as those who disclosed, in the run-up to the Iraq war, their doubts about Bush administration claims of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. This prohibition “would make everyday reporting about everyday intelligence activities practically impossible,” Jack Goldsmith told me. “It would promote opportunistic spinning by the executive branch, which is already a problem.”

In other words, more official misinformation, more spinning that gets us into more wars -- and now way to counter it.

 

 

Comments

no employee may have contact with the press except designated PR or senior officer. The reason for this is fairly obvious - lower level staff frequently don't have the whole picture, don't understand the rationale for various decisions and activities, and can do much harm by ranting off either to the press or online.

When you add to that the sensitive and vital nature of our intelligence and security servcies, then it's quite easy to understand the old world war two warning:

"Careless talk costs lives".

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 11:59 am

Countries, like companies, need to have secrets to operate. Every level of a negotiation, to use a single example, cant be transparent to everyone or the negotiation couldnt go forward..

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 6:54 pm

The coporate press acts as stenographers for the pentagon. Any truly free press is vigorously snuffed out -witness what's being done to Bradley Manning and Julian Assange. The president asserts the right to kill anyone, anytime. And the whole world's a battleground.

But hey, on the upside, gays can openly participate in the murder too now. Yay.

Posted by Greg on Dec. 08, 2012 @ 11:36 am

And young gay men can now get drafted, are we free yet?

Posted by marcos on Dec. 08, 2012 @ 12:25 pm
Posted by Guest on Dec. 08, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

I believe that we should restrict the imperial cannon fodder to straight, white conservative Christian males.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 08, 2012 @ 1:55 pm

you're the prejudicial discriminator?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 08, 2012 @ 3:08 pm

I'd rather not have wars of aggression at all. But if we're going to have imperialist wars, it would be only fair to have them fought by the ones who support them in the first place.

Posted by Greg on Dec. 08, 2012 @ 9:21 pm

color; gay, black, whatever. And if the draft is limited to those 55 years of age and older, it'll tend to strengthen Medicare and Social Security.

Posted by lillipublicans on Dec. 09, 2012 @ 12:12 am

likely try and change the demographic that way.

After all, Tim wants us to build zero new housing for the rich to try and drive the affluent out of town, purely to rig local election results in his favor.

Seems you're no different - you cannot tolerate opposition.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 09, 2012 @ 6:27 am

in public hands -- that'd be the most salient change, funny face -- but also we'd have less demography-changing wars wherein the young are sent to die for the benefit of a select group of aged and wealthy string-pullers.

Posted by lillipublicans on Dec. 09, 2012 @ 7:42 am

Alas you would never support taxing progressives for their idiotic schemes.

Posted by matlock on Dec. 09, 2012 @ 2:37 am