WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Michael Mukasey and three other top Bush administration officials are weighing in against legislation that would allow reporters to protect the identities of confidential sources who provide sensitive, sometimes embarrassing information about the government.
The Free Flow of Information Act proposed by Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, could harm national security and would encourage more leaks of classified information, the four officials wrote in letters to senators made public Thursday.
The legislation gives an overly broad definition of journalists that “can include those linked to terrorists and criminals,” wrote Mukasey and National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell.
“All individuals and entities who ‘gather’ or ‘publish’ information about ‘matters of public interest’ but who are not technically designated terrorist organizations, foreign powers or agents of a foreign power will be entitled to the bill’s protections,” Mukasey and McConnell stated.
Journalists, press freedom. How quaint. What an old fashioned idea.
In a separate letter, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the nation would be more vulnerable to “adversaries’ counterintelligence efforts to recruit” those shielded by the bill.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the bill would erect roadblocks to gathering information “from anyone who can claim to be a journalist, including bloggers” and Internet service providers.
God forbid, some damn blogger should make a fool out of some administration official.
This is the Attorney General of the United States, making a statement that is effectively saying “.. who are not technically designated terrorist organizations, foreign powers or agents of a foreign power .. “, .. in other words ‘you are viewed by the government as being a terrorist, until we prove you aren’t one’.
To Mukaseky’s [and Gates, McConnell’s, Chertoff’s] minds, the criteria for determining who is able to “publish information about matters of the public interest” is solely maintained within the confines of the Executive Branch of United States Government. To be determined by them.
This proposed law by Arlen Specter, a Republican, has been dismissed by the Attorney General of the United States as being too broad.
It appears that since this law is being refused, rejected as some sort of enhancement to press ‘freedoms’ as they exist today by the Unitary Executive operatives. Therefore, one must make the conclusion that the de facto effect is that what Mukasey says, what is true at the current time. A ‘Star Chamber’ within the Executive Branch has just usurped the 1st Amendment to the Constitution, and it provides some function to limit press freedom.
Logically, you may ask me to prove my contention, but I cannot. I can provide no measuring stick to indicate what level of press reporting has been limited by a secret ‘Star Chamber’ within the Unitary Executive Branch of the United States Government, because their deliberations are not part of the public record, they have no Congressional oversight and are not subject to FOIA inquiries.
Yes, I know these ‘extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof’, but this one time a lack of evidence is not evidence of absence. The rejection of a basic precept of Western Law, the presumption of innocence on the part of the Unitary Executive makes it impossible for me to show you an example. Mukasey’s implications in his statement is clear: the Executive Branch will make the determinations as to whom is ‘allowed’ to report.
This is one of the few times one can make the claim, as truth itself becomes embargoed.
We are in a very dangerous place, this little noticed article outlines it, quite well: without some limitations placed upon the Executive Branch, the United States of America is on the very edge of ceasing to exist.