The past Sunday constitutional lawyer and contributing editor at Salon.com Glenn Greenwald appeared with Chris Hayes on MSNBC’s “Up with Chis Hayes”to discuss the history of anonymous speech in politics and debate whether spending money is an exercise of free speech. The other guests on the panel are Maria Hinojosa, anchor of NPR’s Latino USA and president of Futuro Media Group; Rep. Peter Welch, Democrat of Vermont and member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee; and Heather McGhee, vice president of policy and research at the progressive think tank Demos.
Glenn also penned a scathing piece on Sen. Diane Feinstein’s (D-CA) attack on our First Amendment rights using, oh noes!, Terror! as an excuse. Glenn makes the point that Feinstein’s outrage over Julian Assange and Wikileaks is tantamount to an attack of freedom of the press.
The supreme Senate defender of state secrecy and the Surveillance State, California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, yesterday issued a statement to Australia’s largest newspaper, The Sydney Morning Herald, demanding (once again) the prosecution of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. To see how hostile Feinstein is to basic press freedoms, permit me to change “Assange” each time it appears in her statement to “The New York Times“:
The head of the US Senate’s powerful intelligence oversight committee has renewed calls for [The New York Times] to be prosecuted for espionage. . . .
“I believe [The New York Times] has knowingly obtained and disseminated classified information which could cause injury to the United States,” the chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Dianne Feinstein, said in a written statement provided to the Herald. “[It] has caused serious harm to US national security, and  should be prosecuted accordingly.”
As EFF’s Trevor Timm noted, there is no sense in which Feinstein’s denunciation applies to WikiLeaks but not to The New York Times (and, for that matter, senior Obama officials). Indeed, unlike WikiLeaks, which has never done so, The New York Times has repeatedly published Top Secret information. That’s why the prosecution that Feinstein demands for WikiLeaks would be the gravest threat to press freedom and basic transparency in decades. Feinstein’s decades-long record in the Senate strongly suggest that she would perceive these severe threats to press freedom as a benefit rather than drawback to her prosecution designs.
Under Sen. Feinstein’s premise we should have prosecuted Woodward and Bernstein and every other reporter who has exposed government wrong doing. I wonder is she would like to take on Dick Cheney for outing a CIA agent to get us into a war based on a lie, the consequences of which we will never know.