There can be no such thing as “constructive treason.” It must be the real thing. And the facts of the Edward Snowden case highlight why the Framers’ narrowing of the definition is important.
Posts Tagged ‘NSA’
True, we have always known that the outside of any envelope we place in the mail can be seen. We have always known that the phone company had access to “pen register” information, and that the bits and bytes that make up our e-mails are “known” to the various providers transmitting them. But we also did expect that the keepers of the media would take no interest in our metadata, would in fact be bound by rules of confidentiality, and that they would not only safeguard the contents of the communications, but also, to the extent practical, the fact of the communications too. We certainly didn’t think that the metadata would be analyzed by a government agency.
The role of the leakers and the press and bloggers who disseminate what the leakers share is not institutionalized, and there is little or no quality control. But as a result of their actions, things that need to be made public, like torture and illegal wiretaps, often are publicized. The Leakocracy serves as a valuable if not vital safety valve in our society.
It is tempting to view the stories told in [Eric] Boehlert’s two books, one chronicling the failure of the mainstream media to report the news and the other revealing the success of the blogs in doing so, as being parts of the same story. Maybe the mainstream media would not be failing from a business perspective were they not, most of the time, failing from a news-reporting perspective as well. Maybe the blogs would not be succeeding, albeit under their mostly profit-agnostic criteria, were they not beginning to seize the standard of bona fide reporting falling from the grasp of the mainstream media as they tumble lifeless upon the field of economic battle.