Leaks are vital to democracy, drones controversy shows

Trevor Timm at the The Freedom of the Press Foundation blog writes: "This week, Congress finally started a substantive debate on the role of drones in US foreign policy, and more importantly, the Obama administration’s secret legal rationale for why it believes it can kill American citizens overseas with no due process. But why is this just happening now? It's been more than seven months since the New York Times reported on the existence of President Obama’s kill list, and almost a year and a half after the US deliberately killed the first American citizen under this policy. The answer is simple: a leak to the press."


  1. why is this just happening now?

    Because conservatives like it just fine, and liberals like it just fine when it’s their guy.

    1. I knew about the problem, but I didn’t know Congress was debating it. So that’s news (and good news) to me!

  2. The referenced article compares this leak to the ones Wikileaks is famous for. I’m not sure that’s a good comparison. Wikileaks’ work is more philosophical in motivation and indiscriminate in scope than a ‘single issue’ leak like this. Or at least, it appears that way. Obviously the following is biased by my own view rather than a knowledge of politics, but I bet it is a lot easier to get people support specific leaks that hold the Government accountable than to get people to support organizations like Wikileaks which may accomplish the same but also bring some baggage (a philosophy of leaking that is hard to accept half way). 

    Regardless of that however, I definitely think journalists should be able to publish what they want, regardless of classification. Punish the leaker if you want — I’d prefer there was a better path for legitimate whistleblowing but at least people who have access to secret stuff have signed papers saying they wouldn’t talk (and are presumably compensated for it). Journalists do not and should not live under such restrictions.

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