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Sunday, May 21, 2006
The first amendment is not, as it turns out, such a big deal.

From an AP article:
But he [Gonzales] added that the First Amendment right of a free press should not be absolute when it comes to national security. If the government's probe into the NSA leak turns up criminal activity, prosecutors have an "obligation to enforce the law."

What?? The attorney general doesn't think the first amendment is absolute? Really?

Let's take a moment and read the first amendment again:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Seems pretty clear to me. If government officials leak classified information, then they have broken the law. Fine, prosecute them. But if a reporter finds out about classified information, then he has every right to publish it. I'm not saying he always should, or that it's always a good idea, or that he doesn't sometimes have a moral and ethical obligation NOT to publish it, but he has the right to publish it. The reporter hasn't broken any laws, the leaker has, and the publishing of that information is protected by the freedom of the press. Congress cannot make a law that abridges the freedom of the press, therefore there cannot be any "obligation to enforce the law" against reporters publishing news. Gonzales is an idiot.


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