David Gergen appeared on "Reliable Sources," this morning and said this administration is trying to put journalists in jail. Lock em' all up. More intimidation and attack the messenger tactics that the apologists are so fond of to defend the White House. Except of course-when the leak is really helpful...
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(Thanks to Reliable Sources for the transcript)
KURTZ: ... and that is the story on the front page of this morning's "Washington Post" about White House effort to stem leaks. And it talks about the administration, the Bush administration, having launched initiatives targeting journalists and their possible government sources. These involve federal employees being questioned on "The New York Times" story about the national security wiretaps, on the "Washington Post" story about secret CIA prisons, Valerie Plame, all of that.
Do you -- you have been on both sides of this fence. Do you see this as an administration that really is going after journalists, or just legitimately trying to stem the flow of classified information leaking out to the press?
GERGEN: I am glad you brought that up. This administration has engaged in secrecy at a level we have not seen in over 30 years. Unfortunately, I have to bring up the name of Richard Nixon, because we haven't seen it since the days of Nixon. And now what they're doing -- and they're using the war on terror to justify -- is they're starting to target journalists who try to pierce the veil of secrecy and find things and put them in the newspapers.
Now, in the past what the government has always done is go after the people who leak, the inside people. That's the way they try to stop leaks. This is the first administration that I can remember, including Nixon's, that said -- and Porter Goss said this to Congress -- that we need to think about a law that would put journalists who print national security things to...bring them up in front of grand juries and put them in jail if they don't -- in effect, if they don't reveal their sources.
"The goal in all instances was to plug leaks. But in retrospect most of the time these leaks were published in the press it turned out that government did indeed have things to hide and the information that had been hid under classification had been information that was embarrassing to the government, showing either miscalculations or that the public had been mislead...read on
"Given the stories on the White House efforts to go after leakers who make them look bad or expose illegal activites on the part of the President -- but selectively fail to really take their own selective leaking seriously (hello -- Dick Cheney can declassify whatever the hell he feels like, even though that's not what the law says?) -- I'd say that's certainly a topic worth some serious public discussion....read on