National Security Brief: Congressman Wants To Punish Journos For Reporting Classified Info

A top House Republican said on Tuesday that journalists who reported details about the NSA’s classified eavesdropping programs — an action that is protected under the 1st Amendment of the Constitution — should be punished.

“If they willingly knew that this was classified information, I think actions should be taken, especially on something of this magnitude,” Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360. “I know the issue of leaks, I think something on this magnitude, there is an obligation both legal, I believe, against a reporter disclosing something, which would so severely compromise national security.”

Meanwhile, Americans don’t seem to be all that concerned about the privacy issues the disclosure of these programs raise. Fifty-six percent of Americans said it was ok for the NSA to track the phone calls of millions of Americans as long as it received a court order to do so. However, a majority (52 percent) said the government should not be able to monitor emails. “[T]hese views are largely unchanged since 2002, shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks,” Pew Research says.

In other news:

  • USA Today reports that nearly 1 million veterans “awaiting answers on compensation claims for wounds, illnesses or injuries incurred during their service. Two out of three have been waiting more than 125 days for an answer.”
  • The AP reports: Another round of military base closings has hit a dead end. A Senate panel on Tuesday approved legislation rejecting the Defense Department’s request to shutter installations and facilities in the United States that are no longer needed as the military branches cut the number of troops in uniform.
  • The Hill reports: A bipartisan effort to declassify key federal court opinions justifying domestic surveillance of American citizens is dead on arrival, the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat said Tuesday. “I encourage this, though I think it is going to be ill-fated,” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said of the bill being spearheaded by Oregon Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden. “I just don’t see a freight train coming down the track,” in terms of getting the White House and Congress behind the Merkley-Wyden bill, Durbin said.
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