Friday, April 07, 2006

Free Press on Chopping Block?

Kevin Drum sees an ominous import to the governments espionage charges against the two AIPAC lobbyists accused of receiving classified information from Pentagon analyst, Lawrence Franklin, and then passing that info on “to persons not entitled to receive it.” It is the broadness of the charge that concerns Drum and should concern any journalist and any champion of transparency in government. For a common sense definition of espionage amounts to passing information with potential to harm the U.S. interests to a foreign entity, as the defendants did when the shared ‘scuttlebutt’ with their clients at the Israeli embassy. But by using the generic phrase, ‘persons not entitled’ this administration seems to be attempting to set a president that can be applied more broadly. Think Sy Hersh. Think Daniel Ellsberg. Think bloggers!

Well, we seem to have one thing going for us. The judge hearing the case, conservative, Reagan era T. S. Ellis III, has expressed deep discomfort with the governments premise here and says that he regards the 1st amendment issue as “central to this case and important.”

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