29 November 2006

Cry Me A River

From Michelle Malkin's blog comes the story about the New Yawk Times finally getting it's due. And oh aren't they happy about that.

You see, according to the NYT they should be able to aid and abet our enemies freely, hiding behind the First Amendment and the non-existant reporter's privilege. Non-existant? That's right, non-existant.

Although the government allows a lot of leeway where reporter's sources are concerned, the "right" of privilege doesn't exist. In 1972 the US Supreme Court declined in a 5-4 decision "to grant newsmen a testimonial privilege that other citizens do not enjoy", commenting further that "from the beginning of the country the press has operated without constitutional protection for press informants, and the press has flourished."

So what exactly was it that the NYT wanted to protect from prying government eyes? Phone records. And why would the NYT wish to protect phone records? Because twice NYT reporters called the subjects of future raids and informed them of the impending government actions. The government hopes to uncover the source of the Time's information through the examination of the phone records of the two reporters involved. The phone company provided the records and the NYT went screaming to the courts.

The Second Circuit Court ruled that the government had a compelling interest in finding the leaks, especially since any charges must be filed before December 3rd in the earliest case. The NYT then appealed to Justice Ginsberg, who has emergency supervisory authority over the Second Circuit. She declined to rule by herself and referred it to the SCOUTUS, who ruled unanimously that the Justice Department had every reason to examine the records.

The NYT obviously is not pleased with this ruling, predicting a chilling effect in an op-ed that appeared yesterday. "The public will be ill served if this case reduces the willingness of officials to reveal important but sensitive information" it says, meaning that it would be a bad thing news-wise if politicians and their aides learn to keep their damn mouths shut.

Whistle blowing is one thing. Treason is quite another. I sure would like to see somebody have the courage to say so.

No comments: