Thursday, August 10, 2006

More messing with the Constitution

SEN. BOND'S ANTI-LEAK BILL DRAWS FIRE AT HOME

"Sen. Kit Bond has gone way too far in an effort to curtail the
public's right to information on government operations,"
according to one of the leading newspapers in his home state of
Missouri.

The Kansas City Star objected to a bill introduced this week by
Senator Bond that would outlaw "leaks" or unauthorized
disclosures of classified information. A similar provision was
vetoed by President Clinton in 2000.

Opponents of such measures argue that the ability of the press to
uncover and report on misconduct in classified programs often
depends on leaks of classified information, and that reporting
on such leaks serves a larger national interest.

So, for example, the fact that "numerous incidents of sadistic,
blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted" on detainees
at Abu Ghraib prison was classified "Secret" when it was first
reported by the press. The unauthorized disclosure of these
findings, from a classified report by Army General Antonio
Taguba, triggered a series of investigations and continuing
public controversy.

"Bond should withdraw his proposal immediately," the Kansas City
Star editorialized today. "It obviously is not well thought
out."

See "Law Would Go Against Ideals of Free Society," Kansas City
Star, August 4 (free but intrusive registration required):

http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/15192641.htm

"Over the past few years, we have seen unauthorized disclosures
of classified information at an alarming rate," said Senator
Bond on the Senate floor on August 2.

"Each one of the leaks gravely increases the threat to our
national security and makes it easier for our enemies to achieve
their murderous and destructive plans. Each leak is a window of
opportunity for terrorists to discover our sources and methods.
Each violation of trust guarantees chaos and violence in the
world."

See the introduction of his bill to prohibit unauthorized
disclosures as well as the text of the bill (S. 3774) here:

http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2006_cr/s3774.html

The bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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