Wednesday, September 16, 2015

#259 / Does Journalism = Espionage?

Click the following link to be directed to the Department of Defense Law of War Manual. The Manual was published in June 2015. Given that the Manual is 1,176 pages long, it might take you a while to read the Manual in its entirety. 

In its August 10, 2015 editorial, "The Pentagon and the Wartime Press," The New York Times suggests that the recently-published Manual may be seeking to turn journalism into espionage. The Times is most concerned that the Manual contains a "broad assertion that journalists' work may need to be censored lest it reveal sensitive information to the enemy."

We should recall that the FBI has already been taking the position that reporting the news can get reporters put in jail. You can read all about it, right here

Democratic government depends on the idea that ordinary citizens will be able to know what their government is doing. The people are supposed to be in charge of the government, and you can't be in charge of the government if you don't know what's going on. If the reporters who seek out information, and then publish it, are going to be prosecuted and put in jail, democracy fails at the foundation. 

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  1. Democratic government depends on a well-informed electorate. There are military secrets (names of spies, for example) which aren't relevant to a well-informed electorate. It isn't the job of individual journalists to decide what is and isn't information necessary for the electorate to be well informed. Instead, we have a law for that. It's called the 1917 Espionage Act.

  2. It's important to consider the details of these cases, not just their number.

    (3) Thomas Drake, Shamai Leibowitz, and Edward Snowden were all in my opinion legitimate whistleblowers.

    (3) Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, John Kiriakou, James Hitselberger simply did something wrong.

    (2) John Kiriakou and Chelsea Manning believe themselves whistleblowers but where in my opinion leaking information as an act of vengeance against their begrudged employers.

  3. Correction, the third group should say Jeffrey Alexander Sterling instead of a repeat of John Kiriakou.


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