Waging War on Leaks
Targeting dissent and truth.
by Stephen Lendman
On July 30, the Washington Post headlined "A bill to stop security leaks puts a plug on democracy," saying:
Journalists and others talk to officials daily. Background briefings are commonplace. Vital information is discussed. Most of it is unclassified.
On May 15, HR 5743: Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 was introduced and referred to committee. On May 31, it passed.
On July 30, S. 3454: Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 was introduced and reported to committee. Enactment hasn't occurred. More on it below.
A Senate amendment to S. 3454 permits only the director, deputy director, or public affairs representative of an intelligence agency to provide "background or off-the-record information regarding intelligence activities."
Lower level personnel perhaps with contrary views are prohibited from stating them. At issue is government transparency, press freedom, and the public's right to know.
Independent investigative journalism will be compromised. So will press and other First Amendment freedoms. At issue are provisions listed below.
(1) Requiring Congress to be notified when intelligence related information is publicly disclosed. In addition, maintaining a record of all authorized disclosures is mandated.
(2) Establishing formal leak investigation procedures.
(3) Assessing their effectiveness by expanded polygraph testing despite its unreliability and inadmissibility in court.
(4) Prohibiting cleared personnel from serving as paid consultants or commentators for up to a year after government service.
(5) Letting only designating intelligence community officials communicate with the media.
(6) Requiring all media contacts be reported.