Wednesday, May 24, 2006

But it's OK to leak a Covert Agent.....

HOUSE INTEL COMMITTEE TO HOLD HEARING ON LEAKS

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence announced
that it will hold a hearing on Friday May 26 on "the Media's Role
and Responsibilities in Leaks of Classified Information."

There is no legislation on leaks currently before the Committee,
and there are no governmental witnesses testifying at the
hearing. See:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2006/05/hpsci052306.pdf

In an invited statement for the record, I attempted to put the
issue into a larger context and to illustrate the fact that some
leaks serve a constructive purpose.

"I believe it is an error to focus on unauthorized disclosures as
if they were an isolated phenomenon, without consideration of the
corrupted state of the classification system and the difficulties
faced by whistleblowers who seek to comply with official
procedures,
" I wrote.

"From my own perspective, it seems likely that the benefits of
leaks in preserving constitutional values greatly outweigh their
risks to national security.
" See:

http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2006_hr/052606aftergood.pdf

The suggestion by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales last weekend
that the government might prosecute reporters who publish
classified information was critiqued by Jacob Sullum of Reason
Magazine in "When Speech Is Outlawed, Only Outlaws Speak," May
24:

http://www.reason.com/sullum/052406.shtml

House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Pete Hoekstra has been
an outspoken critic of classified leaks.

"Each year, countless unauthorized leaks cause severe damage to
our intelligence activities and expose our capabilities
," he said
in a speech last year.

"The fact of the matter is, some of the worst damage done to our
intelligence community has come not from penetration by spies,
but from unauthorized leaks by those with access to classified
information.
"

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