Friday, April 21, 2006

Leaking About Leaking, and Journalistic Ethics

"The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the firing." Sigh.

The fired leaker, Mary McCarthy, is now under investigation by the Justice Department. The receipient of the leaker--Washington Post reporter Dana Priest--just won a Pulitzer prize for her reporting.

Hugh Hewitt asks some good questions that are worth thinking about:

If the CIA employee fired today for leaking highly classified material to the press had instead taken a computer and given it to a reporter, the reporter would be guilty of receiving stolen goods, right?

And if an Apple employee leaked key design and development info to a competitor, the competitor would be in the wrong, right?

So, how can the journalists recipient of the pilfered info be a hero?

Becaue the reporters' colleagues are reporting the news about the leak?

Because government needs watchdogs?

But what if the leaked information compromised an anti-terrorist operation, allowing terrorists to escape and strike U.S. interests, or the homeland, later?