Fat Steve's Blatherings

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Plame Case — Consequences


        There's speculation that Rove will be charged under the Espionage Act.  But that leaves reporters equally vulnerable to jail time.

At Length:

        I haven't posted anything on the speculation that Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald will use the Espionage Act to charge people, but a couple of interesting consequences have been pointed out by Dale Franks (ht: Instapundit).

        First, the Espionage Act makes it a crime to communicate classified information to those not authorized to receive it — that is, those who do not have a security clearance and a need to know.  If this is used against Karl Rove, as some have speculated it might be, then we've just created a de facto Official Secrets act.  The government just classifies whatever it wants to keep hidden, and anyone who reveals it gets sent to jail for ten years.

        Second, under the Espionage Act it's just as serious a crime to receive classified information as it is to dispense it.  So when Rove gets prosecuted, Miller, Cooper, Novak, and maybe everyone else who wrote about Plame get to do hard time with him.

And as a consequence, neither government employees or MSM reporters dare to write about anything classified.  Freedom of the press has taken a big hit.

        Of course, Fitzgerald could decide just to prosecute Rove, and not the reporters, but I think if Fitz tries that, Bush pardons Rove on the grounds that if the reporters walk, it isn't just to prosecute Rove.

        Watching this play out should be very interesting.  And it will be very amusing, too, listening to the MSM explain why reporters shouldn't be charged under the Espionage Act, nor should leakers the MSM approves of, just minions of the Evil Bushitler McChimpsky.



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