Saturday, May 20, 2006
Reporters are to be privileged persons
According to sources who have seen the bill — all of whom declined to speak on the record, citing a request from Senator Arlen Specter's office to keep the bill confidential — the new legislation does not offer protections as broad as those in many state shield laws, or even as broad as those in last year’s “Free Flow of Information Act,” sponsored by Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana. That bill, as well as a companion bill introduced in the House, were shelved following hearings last summer and fall, largely over concerns expressed by the Department of Justice that the privileges they gave reporters were too broad. For example, the DOJ argued that the original bill would have banned subpoenas not only to reporters, but to many third parties who might know the identity of a reporter's sources, and would have covered foreign news agencies, some of whom, the department claimed, might have ties to terrorist organizations. end quote.
The confidentiality of the bill indicates a secretive government, and the concerns of the DOJ indicate xenophobia.
I'm not as frightened as they are. Not frightened enough to climb into the cell.