Rep. Peter King: There’s a moral and legal obligation to punish reporters who leak classified info

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) appeared on CNN tonight with Anderson Cooper, and his comments about prosecuting journalists who leak classified material caught the attention of a certain Glenn Greenwald, who on Tuesday teased that The Guardian intends to “pursue every last one” of dozens of stories generated by the leak of classified documents by Edward Snowden.

See for yourself.

Who knows what might happen? As The Washington Post’s Barton Gellman explained Sunday, both The Post and The Guardian are sitting on the majority of the slides detailing the government’s PRISM program, teasing only that if you saw the slides, you’d know why. Gellman likened the unpublished slides to a “bomb recipe.”

The government’s moral high ground in the privacy debate has of course been compromised by revelations that Fox News’ James Rosen was accused of being a co-conspirator under the Espionage Act for his reporting, though, following public outrage, the administration now insists it never intended to prosecute.

King has already called for Snowden to be extradited and prosecuted for leaking classified information. So, should Greenwald be worried? The public doesn’t seem to have any taste for prosecuting members of the press.

Here’s an interesting hypothetical: if the press hadn’t decided to publish selected bits of the PRISM information, would Snowden simply have uploaded it himself or passed it along to Wikileaks?

There is one qualifier to King’s statement that’s gone largely overlooked, and that’s his concern over the magnitude of the leak and its consequences to national security. Just what is in that “bomb recipe” that Gellman teased?

  • Clayton Grant

    “Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.” – Voltaire

    • Jeremy

      great quote.

  • James Rose

    Reporting information that aids and abets the enemy is pure TREASON and just because you assume the job of a reporter or journalist doesn’t remove Treason from the dictionary. The freedom of the press and freedom of speech doesn’t give them a free pass to risk American lives because they believe the First Amendment puts them above the law.

    • Ramone Love

      And just how did this aid and abet the enemy? Please explain.

    • HARP2

      Are you eating the same paint chips as King ?

    • Paul Alinsky

      AMEN!!! He took the oath, the punishment is severe for breaking it. He knew it, that’s why his cowardly ass ran to Red China. We need to grab him up sooner then later. Who knows what he’ll give the enemy, he claims he’s got all the goods.

  • TJ

    So what about fiction writers Like Tom Clancy or Brad Thor. They wrote “fiction” books based on truth. Do you prosecute them when their “fiction” they wrote about years ago is now shown to be more close to reality then fiction or just burn their books.

    • Jack Deth

      When Democrats first heard of Clancy’s original shopping for publishing houses for his ‘Hunt for Red October’. They made rumbling of having Congressional Investigations. Clancy got wind of it and his novel published by The Naval Academy Press.

      Which cut down on lots of embarrassing investigations regarding the Dems wanting to scream “Why don’t WE have a sub with ‘Tunnel Drive’.

      We did. Back in the 1960s. As a prototype that was scrapped as too slow. Around the time submarine screws were being more and more finely engineered, designed and made quieter.

  • Axelgreaser

    King Bong!

  • trixiewoobeans

    There’s a “moral and legal obligation to punish reporters who leak classified info?” If “reporters” had been doing their jobs in the past several years, we wouldn’t be having these discussions now. As it is, how in the hell can we find out what’s going on in this filthy climate? And you want to punish (a) reporter, but not Govt. officials who cheat, lie, steal, murder, etc. etc.? What a toxic stew you’ve cooked up.

    • Blargette

      Say it!

    • Ned McFury

      Exactly. Reporters should be jailed for leaked info when politicians are jailed for lying.

  • TocksNedlog

    And under WHICH federal statute should these reporters be prosecuted?
    Is it the “the First Amendment doesn’t mean a f*cking thing if we don’t want it to” law?

  • Dave Turson

    Foot in mouth: who can trust a constant fast-talking limelight seeker?

  • yourmamatoo

    King should retire.
    This is corruption by the Obama Adm.
    What a sad sack!

    • John Thomas “Jack” Ward III

      HE is probably behind it, coercing Andy (“Pope Mario the Pious II” #RushLimbaugh) Cuomo to coerce King…. I know he would never do this, unless he was under some sword of Damocleas #RightWard Jawamax 8<{D}

  • Just Another Guy

    How about we punish Congressional representatives that violate the law….Corrine Brown…Maxine Waters….Charlie Rangel…just as a start…

  • Mark81150

    If he had said this when the NYT’s released information on the Bush intercepts…

    The left would be going collectively nuts… But since it’s a left winger in the WH, King can shoot his mouth of without fear of the left caring. The media, has had the only protection for leaking this kind of thing, since the Pentagon Papers case.

    Snowden may be a certifiable liar, but the slides don’t lie… and really?.. what could possibly be on them from a recorded call or e-mail that compares to a bomb making recipe?

    That the program was made public knowledge would seem the only damaging part.

  • Abiss

    Sure Mr. King – we’ll get to that right after we’re done prosecuting and jailing politicians that fail to protect the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

  • CombatDiver

    Ladies and Gentlemen, the wagons are officially circled. Nothing will come of any of these scandals.

  • OLLPOH # UnBanHana!!!!!!!

    Go alongs to get along aren’t Constitutionalist…

  • OLLPOH # UnBanHana!!!!!!!

    Need to know what Eric Holders response was to this:
    Senator Mark Kirk- IL questioned Holder “were Congress and Justices spied on for “future legislative means” …
    FYI: They are NOT going to answer, its all classified according to Sen’s. Chambliss, Isakson, Kirk’s offices.

    Questions/Statements to viewing audience(including the OGovt Spies):

    1) Since when did the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights/The Amendments to The Constitution have anything to do with Class, Classified, Secret, Top Secret????????????????

    2) Did we or you give any of these branches of OGovt permission?

    3) If you keep silent then you are arbitrarily agreeing, handing over Your Power, Your Constitutional Rights and The Amendments to these Power Greedy Statists.
    4) Will the day come that this OGovt will ever stop doing this?

  • OLLPOH # UnBanHana!!!!!!!

    FYI: Obama on the Constitution…
    Taken from his book and in his own words: “Audacity of Hope” page 54 of 217 PDF Form:
    Ultimately, though, I have to side with Justice Breyer’s view of the Constitution—that
    it is not a static but rather a living document, and must be read in the context of an ever-changing world.
    >>>Static Means Unchangeable<<<

  • emaleroland

    There’s a moral and legal obligation to punish public servants who violate their oath of office, Pete. Assume the position.

  • OLLPOH # UnBanHana!!!!!!!

    Freedom walked away, and complacency showed up in all of America and…
    The complete elimination of private ownership and individual freedom that confines everyone to a drab, mindless existence with no hope of ever gaining anything more than a daily ration and staying alive.- Communism.

  • Red Fred

    THIS! This is why the Constitution and NEVER allowing it to be trampled is important. Peter King made an oath to uphold the Constitution and has revoked his oath. There will be no whistle blowers to reveal corruption, and no reporters willing to take the risk under this man’s criteria. He has left the camp of the lawful.

  • MissJames

    How about prosecuting someone in the Administration who reveals the names of the SEALS who got Osama Bin Laden making them targets ?

  • Clete Torres

    Let me get this straight: Snowden is responsible and must pay for his leaks, but 0bama and his administration have no culpability and must pay no price for 4 and a half years of leaks.

    Got it.

  • Barbarian

    King is a big government gun grabbing statist and should change his party to Democrat.
    He’s also in CYA mode as he knew about this illegal eaves dropping from day one.

  • JustLikeAnimals

    @RepPeteKing how about government that has secretly exceeded its legal bounds & trampled the rights of millions of Americans? Punish that??

  • JustLikeAnimals

    @RepPeteKing how about a President that has lied, covered-up, abused authority, and lost the moral authority to lead? Can we punish that?

  • JustLikeAnimals

    @RepPeteKing How about a Congress that has forgotten it’s place as representative of The People, not of itself? Can we punish that??

  • JustLikeAnimals

    Shorter Rep. Peter King: Clapper and #NSA lie to Congress & Americans. @GGreenwald reports the truth. Punish Greenwald.

  • JustLikeAnimals

    A brief history lesson for the erstwhile Rep. Peter King:

    “Societies exist under three forms sufficiently distinguishable. 1. Without government, as among our Indians. 2. Under governments wherein the will of every one has a just influence, as is the case in England in a slight degree, and in our states in a great one. 3. Under governments of force: as is the case in all other monarchies and in most of the other republics. To have an idea of the curse of existence under these last, they must be seen. It is a government of wolves over sheep. It is a problem, not clear in my mind, that the 1st. condition is not the best. But I believe it to be inconsistent with any great degree of population. The second state has a great deal of good in it. The mass of mankind under that enjoys a precious degree of liberty and happiness. It has it’s evils too: the principal of which is the turbulence to which it is subject. But weigh this against the oppressions of monarchy, and it becomes nothing. Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem. Even this evil is productive of good. It prevents the degeneracy of government, and nourishes a general attention to the public affairs. I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.”

    – Th. Jefferson to James Madison, January 30, 1787.

  • JustLikeAnimals

    Snowden’s latest interview with South China Morning Post unavailable. Your #NSA at work….

  • Sharkteeth

    The RINO’s are in line to hand themselves

  • SophieRo3

    ‘The Bill of Rights changed the original Constitution into a new charter under which no branch of government could abridge the people’s freedoms of press, speech, religion, and assembly. Yet the Solicitor General argues and some members of the Court appear to agree that the general powers of the Government adopted in the original Constitution should be interpreted to limit and restrict the specific and emphatic guarantees of the Bill of Rights adopted later. I can imagine no greater perversion of history. Madison and the other Framers of the First Amendment, able men that they were, wrote in language they earnestly believed could never be misunderstood: ‘Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom . . . of the press. . .’

    Both the history and language of the First Amendment support the view that the press must be left free to publish news, whatever the source, without censorship, injunctions, or prior restraints.

    In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people.

    In other words, we are asked to hold that, despite the First Amendment’s emphatic command, the Executive Branch, the Congress, and the Judiciary can make laws enjoining publication of current news and abridging freedom of the press in the name of ‘national security.’ The Government does not even attempt to rely on any act of Congress. Instead, it makes the bold and dangerously far-reaching contention that the courts should take it upon themselves to ‘make’ a law abridging freedom of the press in the name of equity, presidential power and national security, even when the representatives of the people in Congress have adhered to the command of the First Amendment and refused to make such a law. The Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have [to] bare the secrets of government and inform the people.’

    – Justice Hugo Black, writing for the majority, in New York Times Co. v United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971)

  • gekkobear

    I almost got a minor in Chemistry, I did get a minor in physics… I’m pretty sure I know several “bomb recipes”…

    Do I need to go to jail for knowing this? Am I not allowed to share what I learned in class?

    Is there some “de-education camp” I should have been forced into after college to make sure I didn’t retain any potentially hazardous information like bomb recipes?

    What’s so bad about a bomb recipe?

    • Jay Stevens

      It scares the authorities shitless because they realize how simple they can be.

  • moonsbreath

    King and other members of Congress should be forced out of office for not upholding the whole Constitution.

  • Paul Alinsky

    This man’s a true conservative HERO!

  • chetnapier

    This from the same folks that think its perfectly fine to have embedded journalists reporting troop movements

  • MissJames

    Ain’t that the truth !