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GOP Senators Support OFFICIAL SECRET’S ACT

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lukery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:33 PM
Original message
GOP Senators Support OFFICIAL SECRET’S ACT
From Sibel Edmonds

GOP SENATORS SUPPORT IMPLEMENTATION OF OFFICIAL SECRET’S ACT
Bill Eliminates Government’s Burden to Prove Damage in Prosecuting Whistleblowers

Alexandria, VA---Senators Rick Santorum, R-PA, and Conrad Burns, R-MT, support implementation of Official Secret’s Act, S.3774, introduced yesterday by Senator Christopher Bond, R-MO, to criminalize the unauthorized disclosure of classified information. Bond's bill seeks to enable the Executive Branch in prosecuting individuals engaged in disclosure of government secrets. According to the release issued by Senator Bond’s office, the legislation seeks to unify current law and ease the government's burden in prosecuting and punishing leakers by eliminating the need to prove that damage to the national security has or will result from a disclosure. According to the new release by Secrecy News reports, the new Bond bill is identical to the controversial anti-leak legislation sponsored by Senator Richard Shelby in the FY 2001 Intelligence Authorization Act that was vetoed by President Clinton in November 2000. The bill was called the “Official Secrets Act,” after the U.K.’s repressive criminal secrecy statutes.

The United States has never had a statute generally criminalizing leaks or the publication of sensitive information. Despite consideration at a number of moments in our history, concern for the First Amendment and the principle that the press acts as an important check on government abuse has thwarted all previous efforts to pass such legislation. According to Professor William Weaver, NSWBC Senior Advisor, “Such legislation is subject to a double standard in its application. For example, much information is leaked to the press with the approval of administrators. These sorts of leaks are an unofficial channel for shoring up administration positions and to influence public opinion. On the other hand, unauthorized leaks would be prosecuted when they undermine administration positions or embarrass the executive branch or reveal illegal agency activity. So whether or not a person is prosecuted depends on whether or not the leak is popular or unpopular with the administration in power at the time of the leak. If the statute were to be applied evenhandedly, the jails would be full of administrators and presidential advisors.”

Rather than a genuine effort to enhance national security, this legislation is designed to deter legitimate whistleblowing. The result is that the statute would create an "Official Secrets Act" similar to that found in Great Britain. But, obviously, Great Britain does not have a First Amendment and we do. The government has consistently failed in its burden to prove that recent leaks of national security information somehow harmed the United States. Rather, these disclosures have encouraged public discussion on issues of executive abuses that this administration has tried very hard to cover up. Justice Brandeis wrote: "those who won our independence believed . . . that public discussion is a political duty; and that this should be a fundamental principle of the American government." Current law already protects against disclosure of specific types of sensitive information, like the design of a nuclear warhead or a covert agent’s identities. Legislation that places the First Amendment entirely in the hands of the Executive Branch, such as Bond’s Bill, is unconstitutional on its face. The Nation’s Founders chose not to implement an Official Secret’s Act on our public servants and there is no need for such a law now.

GAP Legal Director, Tom Devine, stated: “This is a bill to protect the bureaucracy, not America's security. It is about covering up government abuses of power that only can be sustained through secrecy. It is about canceling freedom of speech when it counts, by criminalizing whistleblowers who make unclassified disclosures. Most whistleblowers who would be targeted are those exposing cover-ups of the government's own security breaches.”

On June 29, 2006, The National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC), issued its list of Twelve Senators and Representatives, its Whistleblowers’ Dirty Dozen, who by their action or inaction, have stood against real investigations, hearings, and legislation dealing with government whistleblowers who have exposed waste, fraud, abuse, and or criminal activities within government agencies. Senator Rick Santorum, R-PA, made the list. “Senator Santorum is on our list due to being very consistent in his stand against whistleblowers’ protection and his strong support for unchecked and excessive government secrecy. His strong support of this new repressive bill, which takes away congress’ right to know in order to exercise its oversight authority, goes a long way to demonstrate why he is an incumbent candidate unfit to represent our people and their interest and rights guaranteed under the constitution. Mr. Santorum acts as an extension of the executive branch that seeks to override the Separation of Powers and expand its power; not as an elected senator who has been vested with authority and a position to serve his constituents,” stated Sibel Edmonds, NSWBC Founder and Director.

http://nswbc.org/Press%20Releases/Bond-Alert.htm

Related:
As 9/11 Truths Emerge, Truthtellers Face Heavy Fire http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/8/3/17302/58221
Dirty Dozen interview http://wotisitgood4.blogspot.com/2006/07/whistleblowers...
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wakeme2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:36 PM
Response to Original message
1. My standard line to these ppl.. President Hillary will LOVE this Act
:rofl:
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lukery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:44 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. that should scare them!
by it doesnt make it any easier for the rest of us.
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Nikki Stone 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:25 PM
Response to Original message
3. Wonder how the Briitish like their version of it
We gotta fight this act.
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randyconspiracybuff Donating Member (192 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 08:04 PM
Response to Original message
4. Unfortunately The Repugs Have Us Playing Defense
Let's kill this godawful bill in its infancy, but let's go further. Let's pass the NSWBC whistleblower legislation and move for repeal of the Espionage Act, which is what Alberto Gonzalez would like to use to prosecute whistleblowers.
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opihimoimoi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 08:06 PM
Response to Original message
5. Germany 1934 all over again...power goes to only a few peeps
Scarey
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StateSecrets Donating Member (394 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 08:31 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Whistleblowers
"Without the free flow of information from government employees to Congress, Congress cannot exercise oversight of the Executive Branch. Whistleblowers provide our democracy with the most direct oversight mechanism. Now, by refusing to provide meaningful protection for government whistleblowers, not only is Congress failing whistleblowers, it is actually undermining its own authority, statue, thus lowering the public’s confidence and trust in them."
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lukery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 09:14 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. intentional
the probelm with congress is that contains congressfolk. it appears that the congressfolk have no interest in supporting Congress, the institution - and are more interested in defending the enablers in the WH.

I don't know if there will be some push-back with Dem control of one or two Houses - but it CERTAINLY won't change otherwise.
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StateSecrets Donating Member (394 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 10:23 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. more on Bond
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/opinion/1...

Sen. Kit Bond has gone way too far in an effort to curtail the public’s right to information on government operations.

Supposedly to protect national security, the Missouri Republican wants Congress to pass a law that would severely punish government workers who leak classified information to the news media.

Bond should withdraw his proposal immediately. It obviously is not well thought out. Its wide-ranging chilling effect would potentially restrict the public’s right to know and would promote government secrecy. Prosecutors could bring charges without even showing that national security had been damaged.

........

Oh, come on, senator. It is vital that the people know what their government is up to.

Bond’s plan would squelch the “free flow of information that is essential to a democratic society,” as former President Bill Clinton put it when he vetoed a similar proposal in 2000. It was a bad idea then and it’s a bad idea now.


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StateSecrets Donating Member (394 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 11:04 AM
Response to Reply #5
9. Since When?
Since when did true conservatives agree to surrender their individual rights under the Constitution for the sake of some imagined temporary security?

Since when have we become so afraid of some foreign terrorists that we shiver and hide under a blanket of imagined security offered up by those in power who feed on our fears?

Since when have we forgotten the messages of the Founding Fathers, who understood so clearly that the greatest danger to our liberties is an oppressive government, not outside foreign forces?

We should never fear those who are brave enough to speak out, but we should fear greatly those who would silence them!!!
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opihimoimoi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. The Pubs are trying their damndest to impose a Facist Gov't
They are knocking on the door of Domination.Control
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randyconspiracybuff Donating Member (192 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 06:52 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. So Saxby Chambliss Signed On To This
I live in his state. It's time a few of us Georgians write him some letters and demand he explain how a self-described conservative could support severe restrictions on the public's right to know what corrupt practices are going inside their own government!
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randyconspiracybuff Donating Member (192 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 07:06 PM
Response to Reply #9
14. Think About This
Conservatives (as well as liberals) are far more likely to be injured in a car accident than a terrorist attack. Yet, they don't avoid driving on the highway, do they?
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lukery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 09:56 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. liberals are more likely to walk :-) n/t
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ck4829 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 06:54 PM
Response to Original message
12. But yet, the people do not have a right to privacy according to them.
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originalpckelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 06:56 PM
Response to Original message
13. Another intolerable act. (Like the Patriot Act, FISA amendment...
detainee prosecution law, etc, etc...)
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savemefromdumbya Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 07:29 PM
Response to Original message
15. The Official Secrets Acts to cover their crimes
why else would they bring in such legislation?
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