06 March 2014

US Government Officials Said To Be Working On 'Media-Leak' Legislation To Impose Censorship

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

In case you had not seen this, it is on the news wire from  United Press International.

It seems that if this legislation is real, and is enacted, and that is a big IF, then all a government bureaucrat will have to do is to refuse to permit disclosure on topics that it considers to be too important for even the media to know.  And they will be able to exercise a rather effective censorship over a compliant press. 

But I think we can be confident that the government of any political party, or any future President, can be trusted to never abuse this power to gag the Press to cover up their mistakes, scandals, or extra-constitutional activities.

We will have to trust them.  Because we won't know if they are abusing that power because the information that they are will be .. classified.

Perhaps a secret independent court can be set up to review their decisions.  All of its decisions will be, of course, classified.

I wonder if the students at Georgetown understood the implications of what their privileged ears were hearing, or if they even cared.

I wonder how many other bloggers, who are so often preoccupied with freedom, will understand this and pick it up, or if they are just afraid, or even care.

No wonder. Audacious oligarchy, indeed.

NSA chief hints at 'media-leak' legislation
By Aileen Graef
March. 5, 2014

Journalists and press freedom have taken a hit from the government since Edward Snowden leaked NSA documents to the Guardian, Washington Post, and New York Times.

WASHINGTON, March 5 (UPI) -- National Security Agency chief Gen. Keith Alexander was speaking at Georgetown University when he hinted that government officials were working on "media-leak legislation" that would presumably restrict the press from publishing any documents regarding national security that the government doesn't approve for disclosure.

The NSA director said that the U.K. was right in detaining David Miranda, partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald who first published the Snowden files at the Guardian, on terrorism charges and seizing all of his files. Alexander said the actions were justified in the interests of national security.

"Journalists have no standing with national security issues," said Alexander. "They don't know how to weigh the fact of what they're giving out and saying, is it in the nation's interest to divulge this. My personal opinion: These leaks have caused grave, significant, and irreversible damage to our nation and to our allies. It will take us years to recover."

He went on to say that they are making headway on "media-leak legislation." No one knows exactly what this legislation is, but it will more than likely face resistance from journalists who would like to see full freedom of the press maintained under the First Amendment.