Bill of Rights - Amendment I

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
Via Editor & Publisher:
Reporters who write about government surveillance could be prosecuted under proposed legislation that would solidify the administration's eavesdropping authority, according to some legal analysts who are concerned about dramatic changes in U.S. law.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the draft of the legislation, which could be introduced as soon as next week.

The draft would add to the criminal penalties for anyone who "intentionally discloses information identifying or describing" the Bush administration's terrorist surveillance program or any other eavesdropping program conducted under a 1978 surveillance law.

Under the boosted penalties, those found guilty could face fines of up to $1 million, 15 years in jail or both.
'Identify or describe?' Has Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, the bill's primary author, ever read the constitution? He's proposing that there be a government program (warrantless domestic spying) which nobody outside the government is even allowed to acknowledge, let alone investigate, critique, or describe. It places the President's program above the law. You can't hold the government accountable for something that will get you 15 years in jail if you even mention that it exists.

The way the law stands today, it is a crime to disclose classified information to any person without the proper clearance. This places the burden of responsibility on the government official to protect the information.

This new Republican assault on our civil liberties would destroy any ability that the press still had to act as the 'fourth estate' check on governmental power and malfeasance. If this bill gets through the Senate (the House will pass it amid thunderous applause) King George, connoisseur of all things secret, will sign it with a smile on his face.

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