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The Debate Over Leaks of Classified Information

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  1. Freedom of Information
· Story link

· Story link

“A shameful act” or “a heroic moment?” Disloyalty or public service? Is the media’s aggressive reporting on the administration’s secret, and possibly illegal, anti-terrorism techniques truly damaging national security? Or are we witnessing a not-so-subtle rallying call for even greater governmental secrecy, perhaps an official secrets act, in the name of national security? The escalating debate flows from a series of stories – rendition of terrorist suspects to secret overseas prisons, the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance of domestic phone calls, the NSA’s gathering of international banking records of U.S. citizens – all made possible by leaks of sensitive information that the Bush Administration did not want leaked. The reporting prompted a House hearing, a resolution condemning the media, and a Justice Department investigation into the leaking. The Attorney General said he believes journalists could be prosecuted under the 1917 Espionage Act. The political saber-ratting has been matched by a vigorous media rebuttal. The headline above links to an American Journalism overview. Below, we’ve collected articles and commentaries from the debate and organized them for your background reading.