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  • Originally published 08/08/2013

    Disclosure of WWII leak probe "labor of love"

    WASHINGTON—The Justice Department’s World War II effort to punish Chicago Tribune journalists for disclosing naval intelligence was known in 1942.But the legal analysis behind it, as reported by The Wall Street Journal Wednesday, remained secret until last month, when the Obama administration released a selection of historic opinions dating from the 1930s to the 1970s prepared by the Office of Legal Counsel and its predecessors.“For us, this volume was truly a labor of love and respect for the history, traditions, and people of this Office and the Department of Justice,” Assistant Attorney General Virginia Seitz and staff attorney Nathan Forrester, who edited the selection, write in the foreword....

  • Originally published 06/27/2013

    Charles Marvin, a Nineteenth-Century Edward Snowden?

    Credit: Wiki Commons.Meet the Press host David Gregory’s recent insinuation that Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald should possibly be charged with the crime of aiding and abetting whistleblower Edward Snowden in the NSA surveillance scandal is alarming for all who value protecting the principles of investigative journalism. It is made more alarming, though, by considering how closely this exchange matches a landmark case in the history of public secrecy and investigative reportage, namely the 1878 Globe scandal. A consideration of this episode in relation to Greenwald’s (and, indeed, Gregory’s) role in the ongoing NSA imbroglio should be unsettling to those who value and want to protect the freedom of the press.

  • Originally published 06/27/2013

    The Nineteenth Century British Version of Edward Snowden

    Meet the Press host David Gregory’s recent insinuation that Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald should possibly be charged with the crime of aiding and abetting whistleblower Edward Snowden in the NSA surveillance scandal is alarming for all who value protecting the principles of investigative journalism. It is made more alarming, though, by considering how closely this exchange matches a landmark case in the history of public secrecy and investigative reportage, namely the 1878 Globe scandal. A consideration of this episode in relation to Greenwald’s (and, indeed, Gregory’s) role in the ongoing NSA imbroglio should be unsettling to those who value and want to protect the freedom of the press.

  • Originally published 06/26/2013

    Michael Kazin: Daniel Ellsberg, the Original Big Leaker

    Michael Kazin is editor of Dissent and teaches history at Georgetown University. His latest book is American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation. For decades, Daniel Ellsberg, the leaker of the Pentagon Papers, has used his celebrated past to condemn the present. He has given hundreds of talks about the alleged crimes and deceits of every president from Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama; demanded the impeachment of George W. Bush; called on government employees to leak plans for bombing Iran; and been arrested on several occasions for protesting U.S. foreign policy.

  • Originally published 10/14/2003

    High-level leaking, for reasons good and bad, has long been part of U.S. political reality

    ...Every administration since Woodrow Wilson's has lambasted leakers. And every president since Wilson has made discreet but routine use of the practice themselves -- personally, or through their minions, giving the press information on the sly when circumstances merited some truth, or untruth, become known.But the sometimes noble, sometimes ignoble, history of leaks goes back much further.George Washington grew infuriated with Alexander Hamilton for leaking information to the British during the Jay Treaty negotiations in the summer and fall of 1794. James Madison was exasperated when his secretary of state leaked documents to his enemies in the Federalist Party.During James K. Polk's administration, in 1848, John Nugent, a journalist for the New York Herald, published, based on a leak, the secret treaty ending the war with Mexico. When he refused to disclose his sources to Senate investigators, he was arrested and held for a month in a Capitol committee room, continuing to write his column at double his normal salary and going home at night with the sergeant at arms, who fed and housed him.

  • Originally published 10/10/2001

    Leaks to the Media ... An Old Story?

    Image via Shutterstock.Leaks through History Was It Illegal for President Bush to Leak Classified Secrets to Bob Woodward?Deep Throat and the FBI's History of Hiding Its Own LeaksWhy Did President Ford Ban Assassinations? (Explains that Ford leaked the fact that the CIA had plotted the assassination of foreign leaders.)Rick Shenkman: Leaks that might have changed the history of Vietnam Athan Theoharis: Deep Throat and the FBI's History of Hiding Its Own LeaksCIA Spy Case: Valerie Plame Leak Note: This article was first published October 10, 2001 and has been updated.

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