GLENN GREENWALD: Imprisoning journalists

This post originally appeared on Glenn Greenwald's blog Unclaimed Territory

Other than the fact that the President believes that he has the power to break the law and has been continuously exercising that power, the issue about which I've written most is the sweeping and dangerous attacks by this administration on investigative journalism. Those two issues are quite related, as the latter is intended to conceal and thus enable the former.

The administration's assault on a free and vital press took a huge leap forward this weekend, when Attorney General Alberto Gonazles announced on national television that the Bush administration has the power to imprison journalists who publish stories revealing conduct by the President which the administration wants to conceal (such as the warrantless NSA eavesdropping program, which he specifically cited). Gonazles went further and made clear that the administration is actively considering prosecution against journalists who publish such stories. The video is here.

It really is hard to imagine any measures which pose a greater and more direct danger to our freedoms than the issuance of threats like this by the administration against the press. If the President has the power to keep secret any information he wants simply by classifying it -- including information regarding illegal or otherwise improper actions he has taken -- then the President, by definition, has complete control over the flow of information which Americans receive about their Government.
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