Treason at The New York Times

|

Woodrow Wilson: the gift that keeps on giving. Some maniac writing for Commentary wants the Times prosecuted for espionage over its December NSA-domestic-spying scoop. And Jack Shafer, reviewing the 1917 Espionage Act, reveals that the idea may not be as far-fetched as it seems.

NEXT: Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Sometimes I wish I had something to say other than “what the fuck is wrong with these people?”

    But really. What the fuck is wrong with these people?

  2. I, for one, am shocked that such a law would fly in the face of the first amendment, well… surprised, no more like… ah who am I kidding. The only thing shocking is that charges have not yet been pressed. Now where did I put my “little red book?”

  3. Ya know…about this time last year, I could count on a lot – and I mean a whole lot – of support for most of Bush’s policies from a goodly chunk of Hit & Run posters.

    I’m not seeing quite as much of that these days. Kinda refreshing.

  4. Isn’t this the same news outfit that pushed really hard for an investigation and prosecution in the Plame case?

    I don’t think the Times should be prosecuted for treason but them complaining about the investigation into their role in this information leaking is just wee tiny bit hypocritical.

  5. Since Matt Welch appears to have disappeared from Reason, allow me to step in and point out that Steve Aftergood has been all over the AIPAC story for months. I direct you to the new Secrecy news blog for some useful links. In essence, though, Aftergood saw this coming as soon as the case against Larry Franklin was extended to the leakers. As always, the disturbing part is not the attempt to use the act, but the fact that the Act could actually be read that way.

    Anon

  6. This Commentary article is just another attempt to frame the issue as Republican versus Democrat, national security versus irresponsible press. The most relevant issue-whether the surveillance program is legal or not — is brushed off by the argument that (a) Congressional leaders knew about it and (b) if government employees were worried about illegality, they should have talked to other government employees (inspectors general) rather than the press.

    Well, (a) if it was illegal, Congressional leaders can’t legalize it except by introducing bills to change the law, and then getting those bills passed and signed by the President. (b) If the First Amendment doesn’t cover the right of the press to reveal *illegality* on the part of the government, what the hell use is the First Amendment?

  7. I, for one, hope the Times editors get charged. I don’t know what it will take to get the press to take civil liberties seriously, but treason charges against reporters might help.

  8. I’m with James…it’d be nice to see someone make a principled stand somewhere for something. I’m afraid though, the prospect of 50-odd Joe McCarthys running around fills me with a great deal of dread.

  9. If the First Amendment doesn’t cover the right of the press to reveal *illegality* on the part of the government, what the hell use is the First Amendment?

    BINGO!

  10. madpad,

    What, all of three people?

  11. The President, for his part, has not only stood firm, insisting on both the legality and the absolute necessity of his actions, but has condemned the disclosure of the NSA surveillance program as a “shameful act.” In doing so, he has implicitly raised a question that the Times and the President’s foes have conspicuously sought to ignore-namely, what is, and what should be, the relationship of news-gathering media to government secrets in the life-and-death area of national security. Under the protections provided by the First Amendment of the Constitution, do journalists have the right to publish whatever they can ferret out?

    jesus H Christ! and WTF!?!

    hey let me clear something up here…when the president calls something a “shameful act” it does not mean the same thing as when he says it is an “illegal act”.

    wha wha you big friggin baby, the president disagrees with you and he used the bully pulpit to tell everyone about it…get over it.

  12. Hakluyt (BTW, I just Googled/Wikipedead(sp?) ‘Hakluyt’…quite interesting)

    Please elaborate…I can read your comment/question a couple of ways.

    1. “three people?” as in the number of people capable/willing to make a principled stand.

    RESPONSE: Yeah, I know…quite depressing.

    2. “three people?” as in number of Joe McCarthys.

    RESPONSE: I was actually referring to the whole of the Senate Republican majority assuming (for the sake of some politically expedient nightmare) that they all decided to live out a Phillip K. Dick story and start slicing up the Bill Of Rights.

    Hyperbolic I know. Sorry. Second martini rant and all. Not happy w’ ‘puplicans (not to be confused with ‘PUBlicans’) lately (moderates have been particularly week kneed) so I always assume the worst.

  13. sorry….that’s “weak”

  14. Please indict the times! It’s another great issue going into the election.

    The trial will be held within 3 months, that will look even worse as leaky scooter gets his trial delayed until 2025?

    Kangaroo court is now in session!

  15. “Woodrow Wilson: the gift that keeps on giving.”

    Another nominee for greatest h&r phrasing.

  16. Hillary and Bill could handle such people.

    Sincerely

    Ron Brown
    Vince Foster

  17. I really wonder how desperate the press is for some so called scoop or big story or even at time mundane stories that go on and on about the everyday crap of life and then INJECT all the ways that a terrorist, (someone desiring to cause harm to us), could use to do just that!

    I really can’t get out of my mind the ill fated flight 800 that killed a great many people. The press, in all it’s wisdom, (scarsim), caused our govt to spend 4-8 BILLION dollars for explosive testing of every piece of stuff brought aboard an aircraft in the USA! Have there EVER been any found since these changes came into effect? Were explosivies found to be the reason of the flights explosion?

    No, WHY, because the airliner makes a much better bomb all by itself, as demonstrated to us on the morning of 9/11/01!

    But the MSM went off like a roman candle with THEIR opinions about the cause and forced all of us to fork out one HUGE chunk of change which continues today!

    They really do not understand when to STFU and allow our nation to persue any war. WHY they desire to put the gun to their own heads, spin the cylinder and even pull the trigger. MY head also is within the bullets path, in the process is way beyond me!

    Maybe we should roll back the rolls of something called decency, Kennedy got off with a free ride, how many interns did he enjoy besides casual conversation as they were eager to prove their worth to him? There was but one single public hint, and she was a famous hollywood actress gitting presidential wood! Jacklyn knew, I’m sure the press of the day did too!

    How about Teddy and his killing, no murder, of Mary Jo? To think that this piece of crap is STILL in a position of power. A position bought on the reputation of his dead brothers of 40 years ago? A position bought by a phugin rum runner daddy Jo? A common, well, uncommon criminal! WHY does this nation put up with such?

    Term limits for congress first. Followed by adopting the Fairtax plan. Both apparently are going to take action from the citizens, for sure we don’t have interest from the attys running this country now do we?

    Next item is to get attys out of the law making business. They can cause enough havoc arguing and juding them.

  18. Oh, joy, another troll.

  19. Hey, since there are posts today on both Star Trek and Woodrow Wislon, it made me wonder.

    Can we send a space shuttle really fast around the sun and go back in time and kill Wilson before he’s elected?

  20. Can we send a space shuttle really fast around the sun and go back in time and kill Wilson before he’s elected?

    Even if we could it would never happen because first there would be a huge fight over whether we had to go after Abe Lincoln, FDR or Wilson first.

  21. BTW, check this authoritarian riff from Bill Frist yesterday:

    ABC News Transcripts
    SHOW: This Week 10:45 AM EST ABC
    March 12, 2006 Sunday

    GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS

    You heard Senator Feingold there. He wants Democrats and Republicans to come together on the censure resolution he’s going to introduce tomorrow. I can’t imagine you’re going to support that.

    SENATOR BILL FRIST

    George, what was interesting in listening to my good friend, Russ, is that he mentioned protecting the American people only one time, and although you went to politics a little bit later, I think it’s a crazy political move, and I think it in part is a political move because here we are, the Republican party, the leadership in the Congress, supporting the president of the United States as commander in chief who is out there fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban and Osama bin Laden and the people who have sworn, have sworn to destroy Western civilization and all the families listening to us, and they’re out now attacking at least today through this proposed censure vote out attacking our commander in chief. Doesn’t make sense.

    GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS

    So you’re against it. Are you going to allow it to come up for a vote?

    SENATOR BILL FRIST

    Well, George, you know, this is the first I’ve heard about it. I really am surprised about it because Russ is just wrong. He is flat wrong. He is dead wrong, and as I was listening to it, I was hoping deep inside that, that the leadership in Iran and other people who really have the US not in their best interest are not listening because of the terrible, the terrible signal it sends.

    GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS

    So you’re saying that censure resolution actually weakens America abroad?

    SENATOR BILL FRIST

    Yes. Well, I think, I think it does because we are right now in a war, in an unprecedented war where we do have people who really want to take us down, and we think back to 9/11, and that war on terror is out there, so the signal that it sends that there is in any way a lack of support for our commander in chief who is leading us with a bold vision in a way that we know is making our homeland safer is wrong. And it sends a perception around the world and, again, that’s why I’m saying as leader at least of the Republican side of this, of this equation, that it’s wrong because leadership around the world of our sworn, of our enemies are going to say, well, now we have a little crack there. There is no crack. The American people are solidly behind this president in conducting this war on terror.

  22. Bill Frist, quoted above: I was hoping deep inside that, that the leadership in Iran and other people who really have the US not in their best interest are not listening because of the terrible, the terrible signal it sends.

    Yeah Bill, it sends the terrible, terrible signal that we are a representative democracy that holds its leaders accountable. We sure don’t want that message getting to the Middle East…

    My only question is how Bill Frist can physically fit into GW’s butt when Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Pat Roberts is so firmly ensconced in there already (along with the staff of National Review and the Weekly Standard)?

  23. Ken,

    I’m having vague memories of people saying that Middle Easterners viewing the functioniong of a democratic republic was supposed to help us in the fight against Islamist terrorists.

    Was that real, or did I hallucinate it?

  24. >Can we send a space shuttle really fast around the sun and go back in time and kill Wilson before he’s elected?

    Even if we could it would never happen because first there would be a huge fight over whether we had to go after Abe Lincoln, FDR or Wilson first.

    Oooh…you guys are gonna get in trouble…

    Hey Reason staffers, if it’s not in a National Security Letter, will you let us know when the Secret Service comes to ask about these guys wanting to knock off dead presidents?

    I’m thinking there’s at least one no-knock warrant due for this thread.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.