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Starting Monday I will be raising funds for Planned Parenthood:)

Professional um, Rep Peter King (R-NY) chair of the US House Committee on Homeland Security, yesterday reintroduced legislation that would extend the definition of espionage to include publishing the names of sources who collaborate with the US military or intelligence services.

King had proposed similar legislation in 2010. Last week three members of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, led by chairman Joe Lieberman (I-CT), reintroduced a similar bill, known as the Shield Act.

The ACLU responds(pdf)

If the Espionage Act were to be applied to publishers, it would have the unconstitutional effect of infringing on the constitutionally protected speech rights of all Americans, and it would have a particularly negative effect on investigative journalism – a necessary and fundamental part of our democracy,"

Stars and Stripes : A threat to press and academic freedom

Stars and Stripes’ promised right to gather and present information “without news management or censorship” is being imperiled by the government anew, this time with a suffocating policy that intrudes not only on the newsroom but on classrooms nationwide.

In December, as part of a White House effort to tighten data security after the WikiLeaks disclosures, federal agencies and the military issued advisories on the handling of classified information. The Pentagon entity that incorporates Stars and Stripes, Defense Media Activity, did so on Dec. 10.

But after this column pointed out conflicts with the guarantees of editorial independence and press freedoms in Stars and Stripes’ charter, Department of Defense Directive 5122.11, the DMA withdrew it.

Now, the Pentagon has issued new restrictions more troubling in some respects than those they replaced.

The DoD should have tailored a policy to Stars and Stripes’ unique standing as a government-owned news organization that is nonetheless guaranteed the right to operate free of official influence or interference. Instead, the Pentagon took a one-size-fits-all approach and applied department-wide guidelines to the newspaper.

And those go beyond the concerns raised by WikiLeaks, effectively threatening punitive action against anyone who is in or aspires to federal service and lacks clearance to “access classified information” in the public domain in any form.

That would include even historical documents like the 40-year-old Pentagon Papers.
While the advisory was clearly sparked by WikiLeaks and elsewhere emphasizes concern over unsecured government or personal computers accessing and storing leaked information, its language and effect are far more sweeping.

John Prados, a senior research fellow at George Washington University’s National Security Archive and a recognized authority on Vietnam and national security issues, warns on his blog that if the government’s new WikiLeaks-inspired “standard holds true, government employees should not be allowed to read (or reference, or cite) the Pentagon Papers either.”

I asked Army Cadet Command, which oversees ROTC programs, what a cadet should do if assigned a reading from the Pentagon Papers. I was told that that scenario had not been discussed but that a student might ask the campus ROTC commander to intervene with the professor in search of an alternative.

At the Pentagon, a senior press spokesman, Col. Dave Lapan, said he was “not going to get into hypothetical scenarios,” but that “I would hope that service members and DoD employees wouldn't be given academic assignments requiring them to break the law.”

“Military students or those in the categories you describe are prohibited from accessing classified materials from unclassified government computers; this would include classified portions of the Pentagon Papers,” he wrote me. “There are ways to write about the Pentagon Papers without using government computers to access the classified portions.”

But the advisory does not confine itself to “government computers.” Lapan did not reply to a follow-up query seeking clarification.

Here is the John Prados article

You might be dismayed to learn that the Pentagon Papers are still classified as TOP SECRET!

This is despite the fact that The Pentagon Papers have long been in the public domain. Indeed, US government historians use them in official accounts of the Vietnam War and they are referenced and republished in official US government records, such as Foreign Relations of the United States. Senator Mike Gravel even entered them into the Congressional Record!

The classification of the Pentagon Papers takes on an even stranger significance when one considers the federal government’s recent pronouncement that “unauthorized disclosures of classified documents (whether in print, on a blog, or on websites) do not alter the documents’ classified status or automatically result in declassification of the documents.”
This is the reason –in the case of Wikileaks– why the Government has been demanding that US government employees refrain from looking at any of these documents, even if doing so hampers their ability to fulfill their mandates.  If this standard holds true, government employees should not be allowed to read (or reference, or cite) the Pentagon papers either.

This classification policy might be more understandable if US declassification efforts were more forthright and better managed.  But the opposite is the case; the Pentagon Papers are an excellent example.  The US government continues to refuse to declassify them—and not for lack of public interest.

The Archive is aware of at least two requests for The Papers’ declassification under the Freedom of Information Act, one in the 1980s and another in the 1990s. Both seem to have been lost in the Pentagon bureaucracy. In 2000, the Archive filed a declassification request for the final four ultra-secret “diplomatic volumes” of the Pentagon Papers, which Ellsberg chose not to leak. In 2003, the State Department declassified these four diplomatic volumes in total.
In the meantime the phoniness of many appeals to secrecy –including wikileaks material– remains readily apparent.

What has Ellsberg said about Wikileaks you ask? Why...:

In this radio with Brad Friedman :

ELLSBERG: Sure, there are great differences as well as, I think, some very deep similarities. Fundamentally similar in many ways. To start is of course that they mostly deal --- not the latest ones, but the Afghan and the Iraq disclosures – deal with wars that are very similar to the war that was exposed in the Pentagon Papers. So many of the issues they reveal are very similar. And also they're both on a scale as to make the pursuit of the source of that very intense and probably successful. In my case I was sure they would know that I was the only, that I was the source of those, and so I expected to be put on trial. I expected, actually, to go to prison for the rest of my life. And the charges did add up to 115 years.

I'm very impressed that Bradley Manning, the suspect in this, who has not been proven to be the source yet by the Army but if the Army's --I should say the Pentagon and Army's suspicions are correct then I admire what he did and I feel a great affinity for it, because he did say, allegedly, to the person who turned him in, Adrian Lamo, in a chatlog, that he was prepared, he was ready to go to prison for life or even be executed, he said, in order to share this information with the American people who needed to have it. And that's the statement I said I've waited, in a way, for 40 years to hear someone make. I think it's an appropriate choice for somebody to make. It's not that they're obliged to be willing to do that so much. That's something a person has to decide for themselves very much. But I certainly think that when so many lives are at stake as in these wars or the new wars that may be coming at us, as in Yemen or even Pakistan, that to try to avert those is appropriate and to shorten them when they're clearly hopeless and dangerous, as in Afghanistan.

FRIEDMAN: Well, Dan, is there a difference …

ELLSBERG: It's worth one's own life to try to avert that.

FRIEDMAN: Is there a difference in the documents that were released allegedly by Bradley Manning in that they concerned an ongoing hot war, so to speak, and documents that could endanger people out in the field right now versus the largely historical documents of the Pentagon Paper that looked back over several decades.

ELLSBERG: Look, to start with, yes, they are a different level of government bureaucratic communication here. These are, both the Afghan and Iraq logs, are field level, in those cases military --- pretty much --- communications of the kind that lie behind the Pentagon Papers, but the Pentagon Papers were high level, top secret decision papers that showed a great warning, actually, about the escalations that lay ahead, as well as planning for escalations that was being concealed from the American public. Wrongly, I would say, leading them into very dangerous, reckless policies. So these are not the Pentagon Papers. Unfortunately. I wish they were. We need the Pentagon Papers, not only of Afghanistan and Iraq, but as I said, of Yemen, Pakistan and other wars that may lie, or actually covertly

Greg Mitchell:

8:05 NewsMax, of all places, covers Dershowitz backing Assange, but the real highlight is the photo at top of Judy Miller with her latest article for the rightwing site.  It's not about yesterday "Curveball" revelations related to her murderous Iraq WMD reporting, however. And here's Judy's story there after Cablegate broke -- when, with her usual accuracy, she reported there was nothing in the cables beyond "the obvious."  

What you missed in Informationthread 60

Glenn Greenwald on Ratigan's radio show today with transcript

Brad Friedman on being targeted by the idiots>/a>

Alan Dershowitz on Parker Spitzer discussing Wikileaks/Julian Assange and his decision to become a legal advisor for them>/a>

WLCentral with review on what the cables have shown about Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and elsewhere in the region

Group Update:

I just changed everyone from "members" to "editors" and bronte to "admin" because I could not change bronte to anything but that(fine by me btw). Can you "editors" check to see if you can see the messages now please.

Originally posted to cedar park on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 05:16 PM PST.

Also republished by Wikileaks Informationthread.

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