Sunday, September 17, 2006
Phil Bronstein defends protecting criminals. It's interesting the defense these folks use:
Let's keep in mind that Williams and Fainaru-Wada are not criminals. They are accused of being in contempt of court for protecting sources who may have violated grand-jury secrecy. The hearing Thursday is to determine what penalty, if any, should be imposed, not to punish them, but to try to coerce them into revealing their sources. Jail is one option the judge has.Now, he worded it as nicely as possible, though it should read "They are accused of being in contempt of court for protecting criminals." Still, it's tough to square this with:
Reporters should not be put in jail for finding out and telling the truth, which is exactly what we ask of them.Only a few paragraphs back, Bronstein explained that this isn't what's happening. They aren't being put in jail for finding out and telling the truth, they're being put in jail for finding out and telling the truth only to the point that it's profitable for them, but when it comes to outing criminals, their "finding out and telling the truth" mandate abruptly stops short.
Compare with the Chron's bellyaching about HP's internal investigation, seeking to find out and tell the truth. But that was done by a corporation, not the special supercitizens known as the "press."
Oh, and here's a bit of genius:
But it is the government's responsibility to safeguard its secrets, whether it's grand-jury testimony or conduct of a war.How does the government do this? By punishing those who spread them. See, the alternative way to "safeguard secrets" is to throw everyone who knows a secret in jail and never let them see the light of day. Instead, they use the honor system, and then pursue folks who violate that honor. Imagine this absolution of responsibility from other parties in other contexts. How would the government fight crime? They have a responsibility to stop crime, but aren't allowed to pursue criminals? Witnesses? Does everyone need to be monitored 24 hours a day in order to make sure no crimes are committed?
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