The DOJ's AP Investigation
KEY ISSUES TO RAISE
- If the press compromised active counter-terror operations for a story that only tipped off the terrorists, that sounds like it should be investigated.
- It was not acceptable when the Bush Administration exposed Valerie Plame working undercover to stop terrorists from attacking us. It is not acceptable when anonymous sources do it either.
- Is this story about a government source blowing the whistle on government misbehavior, or about a source gratuitously exposing ongoing counter-terrorism operations?
- Did Republicans in Congress who are now exploiting the situation to score political points oppose the media shield law that likely would have protected the Associated Press in this situation?
- How should the Justice Department strike the balance between respecting our free press and investigating damaging leaks that jeopardize counter-terrorism operations?
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- For background on an informational firewall between the White House and the Department of Justice with respect to pending investigations, see this 2007 statement by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.
- Click here for background on the status of the proposed Free Flow of Information Act, or a federal shield law for journalists. Also see "Republicans In Congress Killed A Media Shield Law That Would Have Protected The Associated Press."
- The Supreme Court case you need to know is Smith v. Maryland. (Click here for the wonkblog.com reference.)
- For a flashback to the Valerie Plame affair, which involved the Bush Administration revealing classified information about Valerie Plame's CIA employment with the media and led to the exposure and endangerment of her overseas sources, click here for a rundown of the key players and here for a timeline.
- The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act is designed to protect federal workers reporting government wrongdoing. For more information on this legislation, which was signed into law last fall, click here. (Note the distinction between exposing classified information in violation of federal law and reporting government wrongdoing and corruption.)
- For Department of Justice agency policy on news media subpoenas, including subpoenas of telephone records, see the United States Attorneys' Manual and the Code of Federal Regulations.
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Posted in - Crime - National Security - Judiciary