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Originally posted by djohnsto77
The CIA has asked the Department of Justice to begin an investigation into an apparent leak of classified information to The Washington Post that led to the disclosure of the existance of secret "black site" prisons being run by the CIA in Eastern Europe.
Lott told reporters the information in the Post story was the same as that given to Republican senators in a closed-door briefing by Vice President Dick Cheney last week.
"Every word that was said in there went right to the newspaper," he said. "We can't keep our mouths shut."
Lott, a former Senate majority leader who was pushed out in 2002, suggested the information was passed along by a senator to a staff member.
He said the investigation Frist and Hastert want may result in an ethics probe of a Senate member. - source
Originally posted by thematrix
BomSquad: blowing the wistle on the mob, a gang, a serial killer or serial rapist isn't illegal.
That would be a better comparison ...
Originally posted by BomSquad
You are correct that blowing the whistle on the examples you named would not be illegal.
Unless, of course, such information was deemed classified by the rules and regulations that govern such classification by the US government.
As it stands, the information was deemed classified, so revealing such information was a crime.
Do I believe they were wrong for blowing the whistle and revealing the information, not neccessarily. This does not negate the fact that revealing such classified information is still a crime.
Originally posted by BomSquad
There is a difference between what is morally right, and what is lawfully right. Sometimes they end up being the same thing, but sometimes they do not.
The person that revealed the existance of these secret prisons should be lauded for their courage.
However, this still does not negate the fact they the person that revealed this information broke the law to do so. If something is classified, and some releases that information to the public, there has to be a consequence for that action, no matter how noble the intention was.
We live in a society of laws. These laws need to be obeyed for the good of society.
If people only obeyed laws when they felt like it, or when it was convienient, we would not have laws, we would have mere suggestions of appropriate behavior.
Nuremberg tribunal prosecutors understood the spirit of laws. Law does not exist independently of persons who believe in it. During a Roman Catholic mass the faithful witness and participate in a miracle. A group of atheists could gather and mimic the proceedings, but the activity would no longer have meaning even though words and ceremony were duplicated in finest detail. Nazis were legal atheists; they did not believe in law. They duplicated the outward form but emptied legal ritual of meaning. The decrees, courts, and documents were no more valid than a mass celebrated by an atheist. Retaining the outward forms of law, however, made citizens feel comfortable: The old priests were gone, and the new ones spoke with a strange accent, but nonetheless they were adept with traditional words and ceremonies, and the congregation felt reassured. Even troubled members would not consider leaving the Church. What they did not realize was that the Church was gone. The community of believers remained, but had been hijacked by unbelieving persons garbed in priestly robes, who cynically exploited the congregation’s beliefs in order to enslave the faithful.
Nuremberg prosecutors saw through all that. Elections do not demonstrate existence of democracy; they are a ritual of democracy and are meaningless when performed in other contexts. Court sessions are a ritual of law but mean nothing if conducted by persons who demolish the foundation upholding law. All that is left is rubble.
Nazis argued that law is neutral, a tool that can be used for any purpose. Nuremburg prosecutors countered that law cannot exist apart from its protection of individuals against excess by ruthless private and public agents. Defendants accused of crimes against humanity coolly produced decrees and permits in triplicate, and were genuinely shocked when prosecutors dismissed all those documents.
-From the book "Nazi Justiz" by Richard Lawrence Miller
If you we investigated everyone who leaked information that needs to be leaked we as a society would never hear about secret prisons and the circumvention of torture laws because those agents who have enough of a sense of morality to whistle blow would loose their security clearances.