Monday, June 26, 2006

Rep. King is right - prosecute the New York Times

A couple days ago, Rep. Peter King, R-NY, urged the White House to pursue charges against the New York Times for publishing national defense information they knew to be classified.

In publishing details about the US effort to track international funds transfers, the Times knowingly disclosed national defense information. As anybody who's ever held a government security clearance can tell you, this is against the law. Further, the law applies to everybody, not just civilian or military employees of the government.

With the disclaimer that I'm not a lawyer, the applicable portion of the US Code would appear to be the following: TITLE 18 PART I CHAPTER 37 § 793 Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information.

The pertinent paragraph reads:

(e) Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted, or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it; or ... Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
That's for individuals. For co-conspirators:
(g) If two or more persons conspire to violate any of the foregoing provisions of this section, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be subject to the punishment provided for the offense which is the object of such conspiracy.
Now I'm sure that our 'friends' on the left would argue vehemently that such mundane matters don't apply to members of the fifth column, er, I mean, the fourth estate. But if I were Attorney General Gonzalez, I'd be willing to throw it at the wall. I'd bet it sticks.

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