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Congressman Wants Just One Reporter Prosecuted For NSA Leaks: ‘I’m Talking About Greenwald’

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"Congressman Wants Just One Reporter Prosecuted For NSA Leaks: ‘I’m Talking About Greenwald’"

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Rep. Peter King (R-NY)

A top House Republican calling for the prosecution of journalists who leaked classified details of the NSA’s eavesdropping programs clarified on Wednesday that he wants the U.S. government to go after one in particular: the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald.

Greenwald and reporters for the Washington Post originally broke news last week about secret NSA surveillance programs. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said on Tuesday that they should be prosecuted for doing so. But when asked about that statement on Fox News on Wednesday, the New York Republican said he just wants Greenwald taken down, because, King claimed, Greenwald said will release the names of CIA operatives around the world:

HOST MEGYN KELLY: To take it another step and to say the journalists who published the information, the guys who published what he leaked, that they should face prosecution that is news. Do you believe that? Do you stand by that, both Greenwald and the Washington Post reporter?

KING: I’m talking about Greenwald. Greenwald, not only did he disclose this information he has said that he has the names of CIA agents and assets around the world and they’re threatening to disclose that. [...]

KELLY: What is the difference between Glenn Greenwald who broke this story in the Guardian who is an American citizen but he’s living abroad and James Rosen and the Associated Press?

KING: James Rosen never said he was going to release information that was going to kill Americans. He was never going to disclose the names of CIA agents and operatives around the world the way Greenwald is saying he is threatening to do.

Watch the interview clip:

While Greenwald has said that he will report on more newsworthy secret information that was allegedly provided to him by a former NSA contractor, he has never said he plans to expose or out any CIA agents. And as this blog has previously noted, there is no known example of a U.S. official prosecuting a journalist for their own reporting or publication of material. Doing so would be an unprecedented expansion of government invasion into the free press, and would prompt an immediate deluge of constitutional challenges as a violation of the First Amendment.

Transcript:

KELLY: To take it another step and to say the journalists who published the information, the guys who published what he leaked, that they should face prosecution that is news. Do you believe that? Do you stand by that, both Greenwald and the Washington Post reporter?

KING: I’m talking about Greenwald. Greenwald, not only did he disclose this information he has said that he has the names of CIA agents and assets around the world and they’re threatening to disclose that. The last time that was done in this country we saw a CIA station chief murdered in Greece. No right is absolute. And the even press has certain restrictions. I think it should be very targeted and very selective and certainly a very rare exception. But in this case, when you have someone who has disclosed secrets like this and threatened to release more then to me yes, there has to be legal action should be taken against him. This is a very unusual case with life and death implications for Americans.

KELLY: What is the difference between Glenn Greenwald who broke this story in the Guardian who is an American citizen but he’s living abroad and James Rosen and the Associated Press?

KING: James Rosen never said he was going to release information that was going to kill Americans. He was never going to disclose the names of CIA agents and operatives around the world the way Greenwald is saying he is threatening to do. That to me is a direct attack against Americans. Putting American lives at risk and to me, no right is absolute. And obviously freedom of the press is cherished in this country but in this case some people are glorifying Snowden, making him a hero and now Greenwald is acting as a legitimate journalist. I mean just think if June 5, 1944, you had somebody threaten to release the date of the D-Day invasion which would have resulted in the deaths of thousands of Americans. To me, that has crossed the line.

KELLY: Do you think that Glenn Greenwald should be prosecuted for what’s been released so far? ..

KING: It certainly should be considered and the reason I say that is because he’s putting American lives at risk. This was clearly done I believe to hurt Americans

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