Brian Ross: "It made me feel as if I were a drug dealer or terrorist"
ABC's Brian Ross appeared on "Reliable Sources," and said some very chilling things as he explained the impact being felt by him and others over the government's spying program of journalists which he broke ealier this week....
KURTZ: Were you given any names of journalists who might be on the receiving end of this?
ROSS: Other than Esposito and Ross, no. But I'm assuming your colleague, Dana Priest, and Risen and others at the "Times," who have done a lot of important work that involved information that the CIA, I assume, presumes to be classified and they see that as a violation of the law. And that starts the process by which they essentially can use provisions of the Patriot Act if they chose, or just a grand jury, to pursue it.
And it makes me feel, in a way -- and this is, I think, the disturbing part -- as if we are drug dealers or terrorists trying to traffic in information, and should we be using bags full of quarters like old Mafia capos to avoid having our phone calls traced? I don't think I'm doing anything wrong; I don't think any other reporter is, either. We're trying to cover these stories, which are difficult, but which are very important.
KURTZ: Just on a personal level, how did you -- what was your reaction to learn that law enforcement officials, according to this source, are analyzing the numbers that you dial -- presumably in an effort to track down your other confidential sources?
ROSS: You know, I guess as an abstract, we always thought that was likely or possible, but once I actually heard this specific information-and this person knew a couple of specific calls -- it was truly alarming and made you think, well, my gosh -- what are we going to do about this? It means a lot more in-person visits.
I'm working on a big story now with people who are confidential sources inside the Federal Air Marshal Service. They were all alarmed that they might be exposed as talking with me in violation of rules. So it's of great concern.
(h/t David Edwards)