Representative Peter King (R-NY), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, believes that the Justice Department should look into prosecuting the New York Times for its stories on classified government anti-terror programs, such as this article on federal monitoring of international financial records. Appearing on FoxNews Sunday this morning, Rep. King said:
To me, the real question here is the conduct of The New York Times. By disclosing this in time of war, they have compromised America's antiterrorist policies. This is a very effective policy. They have compromised it. This is the second time The New York Times has done this.
And to me, nobody elected The New York Times to do anything. And The New York Times is putting its own arrogant, elitist, left-wing agenda before the interests of the American people.
And I'm calling on the attorney general to begin a criminal investigation and prosecution of The New York Times, its reporters, the editors that worked on this, and the publisher. We're in time of war, Chris, and what they've done here is absolutely disgraceful. I believe they violated the Espionage Act, the Comint Act.
This is absolutely disgraceful. The time has come for the American people to realize and The New York Times to realize we're at war and they can't be just on their own deciding what to declassify, what to release.
If Congress wants to work on this privately, that's one thing. But for them to, on their own — for them to decide — for the editor of The New York Times to say that he decides it's in the national interest — no one elected them to anything.
Appearing with Rep. King, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) was unwilling to jump on the press prosecution bandwagon.
I don't think that the newspapers can have a totally free hand. But I think in the first instance, it is their judgment. The editor of The New York Times was quoted as saying that they had considered the government's request not to publish and had made their decision that it was in the public interest.
I'd be prepared to criticize The New York Times if I felt it warranted after knowing a lot more about the facts, but on the basis of the newspaper article, I think it's premature to call for a prosecution of The New York Times, just like I think it's premature to say that the administration is entirely correct.
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