Before I get to this latest move by Sen Pat Roberts (R-KS), let me remind everyone how Senator Roberts purposefully kept an investigation into the possible leaking of classified information by Sen Richard Shelby (R-AL) from functioning by refusing to recuse himself from the case. This was a leak that "might have tipped off terrorists that one of their channels of communication had been compromised", yet was purposefully impeded by Roberts, thus the investigation ended in Nov 05 without offering any findings.
Also, as Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen Roberts has overseen the whitewash of the initial investigation into the intelligence failures that lead to Iraq, and he is still stalling Phase 2 of that investigation into how the intelligence may have been misused by the Bush administration. This despite assurances in November that it would move ahead after the Democrats forced a shut down of the Senate over it. Today's LA Times has an eye-opening editorial covering Roberts' Intel Committee:
THAT THE UNITED STATES Senate has a body called the Intelligence Committee is an irony George Orwell would have truly appreciated. In a world without Doublespeak, the panel, chaired by GOP Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, would be known by a more appropriate name — the Senate Coverup Committee.Now that I've filled in some background on the traitor loving Senator, check out this post from the Project On Govt Oversight:
Although the committee is officially charged with overseeing the nation's intelligence-gathering operations, its real function in recent years has been to prevent the public from getting hold of any meaningful information about the Bush administration. Hence its never-ending delays of the probe into the bogus weapons intelligence used to justify the invasion of Iraq. And its squelching, on Thursday, of an expected investigation into the administration's warrantless spying program...(more)
If Senator Pat Roberts gets his way, the First Amendment and the public's right to know will take a monstrous hit. Roberts is considering adding language to the 2007 intelligence authorization bill that criminalizes the distribution of classified information by everyone, not just by government employees and contractors.
Similar legislation, known as the Official Secrets Act, was defeated when President Clinton vetoed it near the end of his presidency.
Criminalizing disclosure of classified information by any member of the public would have a chilling effect on the press and the public would be less informed as a result. Classification is often wrongly used to cover up government illegalities or other questionable behavior. In a democracy, should exposing government misconduct be illegal?
Again, currently, only people with security clearances are held responsible for securing classified info. Under Senator Roberts’ proposal, reporters – even people reading the newspaper – would be in trouble.
It's painfully obvious, from his actions, that Senator Roberts is all for protecting leakers of classified information if they are his Republican colleagues, but supports throwing leakers in jail if they might expose any wrongdoing by them. The next reporter to say, write a story about how a sitting president was ordering a break-in of the opposition party's headquarters or illegal wiretapping, will be the one guilty of breaking the law instead of the govt official that broke the law in the fist place.
Will Bob Woodward continue to shill for this administration once his colleagues start getting locked up for doing the same thing that made him famous?
Also worth checking out is POGO's take on the Congress' capitulation to the Whitehouse over the illegal wiretapping program.