Friday, January 13, 2006

It is a federal crime to publish classified information. 
Cori Dauber is reporting, via an informed source, that the military strenuously requested that New York Times and Washington Post not publish the results of a study on body armor.

Well, here's the comparison to think about: I've been told by a senior Marine officer in Iraq that the Times ignored multiple requests to not publish the details of body armor vulnerability in order to protect the lives of US service members. (And what I quoted was just a single example: the article, for example, actually come complete with a graphic, for God's sake.)

Well, I didn't think too much about the article, because I think any close observer can see what's covered by the vest and what's not. (You know, maybe making the original vests in dark green when the rest of a soldier's uniform was tan was a stupid idea, ya think?)

But I didn't see the graphic. They included a friggin' graphic? That's just beyond the pale. That thing is going to become a training aid for Al Qaeda, you assholes.

Given just a moment's thought, it's pretty obvious to me that details about the weak spots in body armor can be readily exploited by anyone with a sniper rifle, a pistol, or a knife.

As a reminder, although the Pentagon Papers case established a very high standard for the government to impose a prior injunction against the publication of sensitive material. But publishing classified information is still against the law. Indeed, in the Pentagon Papers case itself, Justice White was very clear in saying that while he did not believe the government had the right to impose prior restraint on publishing the documents, he would be favorably disposed to the prosecution of the Times and Post on the grounds of unauthorized possession of classified documents - which is itself a crime, under Section 793(e) of Chapter 18, U.S.C.

It's time for the government to stick up for the interests of its troops and for the Republic - prosecute newspapers that compromise national security by publishing - with egregious disregard for operational security - legitimately classified information that can be used against us by a determined and resourceful enemy.

This is not to say that preventing the embarrassment of the government is grounds for legitimate classification. I do not believe the images from Abu Ghraib rise to the level of legitimately classified, except for the purposes of not compromising an investigation.

But details about our surveillance activities, force protection measures, and armor protection clearly fall within the parameters of legitimately classified information.

You've heard of the catchphrase "speak truth to power?"

It's time to speak a little power. Have some editors answer some tough questions before a judge. Maybe a soldier, or the family of a soldier shot at close quarters or by a sniper exploiting the weaknesses in body armor exposed by the times will someday have grounds for a civil action.

The press is forgetting their place. They are part and parcel of a free society. But they are themselves subject to the same laws as the rest of us. They have no special dispensation, under the law, to publish classified information that the rest of us are not even allowed to possess. (Try to explain that at Press Think, though and you get slimed as a "Press Hater.")

Splash, out


HMMMMM, "Press Hater"?

Sounds like a badge of Honor to me.

There's a lot of hypocrisy here. To claim outing Valerie Plame is a crime and Carl Rove should be in jail, but then to want the press to ignore classified data is hypocritical. Is it hypocritical to give Carl Rove a pass but be upset about the press leaking info on the vests ankd other information? I think only if Plame is a "SECRET" Agent, which seems to be not so clear. But why does the press give out our secrets but keep the identities of the insurgents hidden and sources of Al Qaida videos secret if they're supposed to be "neutral?" That sounds like the most hypocritical part about all this.
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