SUPPORTING INTELLIGENCE AND LAW ENFORCEMENT PROGRAMS TO TRACK TERRORISTS AND TERRORIST FINANCES
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Mr. KING of New York. Mr. Speaker, I am proud to speak in support of this resolution.
Mr. Speaker, this is a critical time in our Nation's history. Our Nation is at war, and we have seen serial leaks of very important classified top secret information. It is almost as if we are shadow boxing. We are talking about it in a moot court-type way or a theoretical way.
The fact is lives are at risk. The fact is in this particular situation, by the New York Times' own account it was a program that was working. It was a program for which the Times has raised no questions of illegality. It is a program under which the administration, the Secretary of the Treasury, the two cochairmen of the 9/11 Commission went to the New York Times and asked them, in the interest of national security, not to release the details of this program. But they went ahead and did it anyway. And that really, to me, casts a motive over why, questions the motive of the New York Times in doing this.
Back in December I strongly objected when they leaked the details of the NSA terrorist surveillance program. At least, in that instance, the Times raised what they thought were questions of legality. But that didn't even exist in this current situation which, to me, goes to the heart of an issue here, is what is the obligation of a newspaper, how absolute is the first amendment.
My belief in a democratic society, where there is always friction between freedom and responsibility, and while we give extensive rein to the first amendment, to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, no freedom can be absolute. With freedom comes responsibility. And to me the New York Times has clearly crossed that line of responsibility. Those who leaked the information, yes, they should certainly be prosecuted. To get to them is going to be very difficult to do, unless, as the gentleman from Kansas pointed out, reporters and editors are brought in before a grand jury and threatened with contempt if they do not disclose the names of their sources.
Then we will see if those who say they are so opposed to leaks will stand up and support that. Because reporters should not be sacrosanct. Newspapers should not be sacrosanct. It is fine to launch special investigations and hire special prosecutors to go after any other person in the country. But as soon as anyone focuses on the media, focuses on the New York Times, or the L.A. Times, or the Wall Street Journal, then panic sets in, as if special walls of protection must be set up around them. They are not entitled to that.
To me they have a responsibility. The New York Times has woefully failed in its responsibility. I say the jury might still be out on the L.A. Times and the Wall Street Journal as to whether or not, what their motives were. Did they only follow because the New York Times went first? I don't know. But no one should be immune from investigation here. They should be looked into very, very carefully. We should go after the leakers. And to me, the New York Times, is not just the facilitator of the leakers, they are coconspirators of the leakers because it was leaked to the Times and the Times leaked it to the American people and to the world. And because of that, our position as a Nation is weaker. Our people are at risk. Our people suffer and face the further suffering and death, and that will be on the hands of the New York Times. That blood will be on their hands.
I urge adoption of the resolution.
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