Freedom of Press vs. National Security

NewspaperOn October 16, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would protect news reporters from being sent to jail for refusing to reveal their sources. The White House has threatened to veto the bill, saying that it would lead to leaks of classified information, threatening national security.

The bill was introduced after several big cases this year in which prosecutors tried to force reporters to reveal confidential sources of news stories, threatening to throw them in jail if they did not comply.

Supporters of the bill say that confidential sources are crucial to maintaining freedom of the press, guaranteed under the First Amendment of the Constitution. Potential sources will be less likely to report wrongdoing, supporters say, if the reporters they are talking to cannot protect them.

Opponents of the bill say that it will make it more difficult to investigate acts of terrorism and other threats to national security. The bill does have a provision, though, stating that reporters must turn over information if it could prevent a terrorist attack, or if a court decides that the information is needed to protect national security.

Related Links

  • House passes measure to protect reporters
    Report on the legislation. Includes the point of view of both the supporters and the opponents of the bill. (Source: Reuters, October 17, 2007)
  • House passes federal shield law
    Report on the bill from the Reporters’ Committee for Freedom of the Press. (Source: RCFP, October 16, 2007)
  • First Amendment
    American Library Association’s link to information about the First Amendment. Includes the text of the amendment itself, quotes regarding the First Amendment, and links that cover issues surrounding freedom of speech and press. (Source: American Library Association, 2007)

One Comment

  1. manning hero says:

    right to remain silent is covered under freedom of speech. if your liberty is not secure, your not safe. the only point of secruity is to keep your freedom safe.
    arrest who arrested manning. ban from gov jobs who thinks manning should be charged. arrest/charge criminals manning exposed.
    arrest who forced him to sleep naked w lights on, or sleep deprivation-abuse. no 1 shuold be put in solitary confiement if they are not directly endangering other inmates. prisoners shuold be allowed visitors. charge whoever locked up manning, $8/hr manning was locked up compensation to manning.
    activate mass protests and petitions to arrest who arrested manning
    charge nsa with espionage.
    espionage/spying=to look at/listen to/record someone/something w/o their knowledge or permission, and is legal if its looking at/listening to/recording public property, the outside of things that are outside or in public, anything you have permission to see, things w probable cause or potentially resonable suspicion of finding evidence of crime/gov misconduct, and gov info that is legally sapose to be public
    leaking classified info is legal. breaching a paid confidentality contact may result in oweing a refund and loss of occupational licence, not arrest. gov confidentiality agreements to keep info secret that is sapose to be public, is illegal and a void contract. leaking classified info that is sapose to be public, or is probable cause of gov misconduct, is honorable, deserve reward, and what people are sapose to do.
    ‘causing intelligence to be published’, ‘transmitting defense information’, is freedom of press and speech.
    manning’s search and seizure is lawful there was probable cause of crime/gov misconduct.
    legal to search if probable cause or maybe reasonable supicion of gov misconduct/crime, and record or share that info
    only criminals say exposeing/leaking evidence of crimes is aiding the enemy because law-abideing people that try to stop crime are a criminal’s enemy.
    gov who searches and seizies w/o reasonable suspcion, or wants to cover up govs crimes agianst transparency laws within the consitution(that declare the public is sapose to know all gov does(exsept maybe certian info w 75% of the public’s permit), is a traitor who betrayed their oath to defend the consitution, and betrayed the public by lieing to them saying they are there for national security when actualy they breach national secuirty, and only secure gov criminals from being prosecuted.
    its legal to share (gov info that is legally sapose to be published) with the public
    public sector(gov) is sapose to be the public’s employees and be publicly viewable
    it is a felony to attempt to use the classification system to hide a crime or protect the powerful from embarrassment. Such material remains unclassified even after being stamped.
    Title 18 US Code contains the law. Executive order 13526 declares that crimes and embarrassing material CANNOT be classified:

    Sec. 1.7. Classification Prohibitions and Limitations.
    (a) In no case shall information be classified, continue to be
    maintained as classified, or fail to be declassified in order to:
    (1) conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error;
    (2) prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency;
    Also see
    403 U.S. 713 (1971)
    No. 1873.
    whistle blower law-cant legally get in trouble for reporting crime/gov-misconduct
    its gov’s job to report and try to stop crime/gov-misconduct, and protect everyone=under the law=not letting some get away w the same type of misconduct you dont let others get away with, =no spying on everyone while baning every1 to spy on u
    us army subject schedule no. 27-1 is “the obligation to report all violations of the law of war”
    require gov workers report suspected gov-misconduct(exsept under risk. reward reporting gov misconduct under risk.
    allowing criminals who spy on entire non-gov w/o their permit, or murders who kill innocents, to go unpunished puts everyone at risk.
    put gov under 24-7live public video survailence. subject gov to suprize inspections done by non gov unpaid by gov.
    anyone who illegally searches/seizes documents/pcs/videos/pety non survival items(manning didnt do, nsa did) shouldnt be arrested, should be banned from gov jobs, and maybe sml fine.
    gov admitted manning leaks didnt put anyone at risk.
    no one who hasnt touched someone agianst their will, kidnapped, physcially trapped, physcially abuse/neglected, murdered, tortured, disarmed, or physcially directly endangered someone(ex pointing a gun at someone), shuld go to life in prison.

    the public is the top of the chain of command, top of the pryamid, the boss of gov, most arnt dum enough to report crimes to the crooks who commited them or crooks-the truth wouldnt get out and wuld be punished for reporting/exposeing.
    manning first reported to his higher ups and they didnt care-ban those higher ups from gov jobs.
    manning was honest with the public and upheld his orignal oath to the consitution and transparency laws, he isnt a traitor.
    if he lied to tyrants in order to get access to info the public is legally owed, tyrants might lable him traitors, otherwise tyrants cant declare him a traitor
    gov is like a lion hideing in the grass, slowly and quietly sneaking closer and closer to its prey, waiting to pounce on its prey, doesnt want its prey to see it, and wants to be able to see its prey
    charge the policicans who use tax payer$ for their prv security when they can afford it for themself instead of buying themself so much lavish golf, vacations, long distance travel, fashion, fancy dinner…, with theft. the politicans theft of $millions+ is much more severe than manning looking at info on a computer w/o permission. they let the poor die while spending $millions punishing whistleblowers.
    if it was your kids that got killed, would u want the murderer to go free and the one who reported it to go to jail?-no, hypocrities.