SOPA author wants to arrest journalists over leaks

Texas Representative Lamar Smith, the angry old man who doesn't understand the internet and is the author of popular bills like SOPA, thinks that it's about time for the Justice Department to bring down “the full force of the law” against journalists who leak sensitive information. That includes journalists who have been talking about US involvement in Stuxnet a little bit too much.

The only problem is that the Justice Department really can't bring “the full force of the law” against leakers, since the law itself doesn't actually let them do that. No worries – the House Judiciary Committee will fix that, according to Wisconsin Representative James Sensenbrenner.

The committee, Sensenbrenner says, is looking at revamping the Espionage Act to allow the prosecution of journalists who leak state secrets. “We've got the Constitutional issue about the First Amendment,” Sensenbrenner said, adding that “there has to be a balance.” In other words, freedom of the press is fine, so long as it doesn't get in the government's way.

Obviously, journalists (especially us poor tech journalists) are a bit worried about the whole deal: the executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press says that there is “no need for a new law, and certainly not [one] that was rushed through Congress without careful consideration.” But isn't that how most laws involving technology (and anything, really) are passed?

Thanks to member Tom for the tip in our forums.

Source: InfoSecurity | US House of Representatives

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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.


Welcome to the country that doesn't believe, recognize, acknowledge, or even know about the self evident truths of a free society.

'Nuther editorial [not sure why it wasn't labeled that way]...

If you follow the link to infosecurity-magazine.com [under "Source"], the 1st story *that* summary points to is here at The Christian Science Monitor: http://goo.gl/jqkgf - the 2nd link they provide leads to a statement by Rep Lamar Smith: http://goo.gl/Ch0Sk . Except for general subject matter, Both are unrelated -- Both are joined together in a way to give the author's editorial argument greater weight, in an example of poor if alleged reporting. Personally I'm no fan of Smith, & I've strongly opposed, argued against SOPA, but the truth is the truth & once you abandon it, how much better are you than your foes, those pushing SOPA & similar?

Infosecurity does not report a source for their mention of Stuxnet, does not accurately report on the 2 sources they do give, makes it appear the 2 links are connected -- they are not -- and Holman builds on that, saying Infosecurity said things that they just did not say in their editorial. Here's the actual info or data or whatever, As briefly as I can from a large number of sources [just hit any US news site & start reading related stories for the past several months]...

Historical Context -- there have been a series of leaks published that show the current US admin to be hard-a**ed on national security. That it was published by outlets like the NY Times, which is friendly to the current admin, further riled the political opposition. Doesn't help that politically this is a particularly nasty election year. The latest widely publicized, published leak confirmed the US was behind Stuxnet, just before Kaspersky confirmed Flame had the same source as Stuxnet, which itself stirred the pot a bit.

Current Context -- Some of the leaders, current as well as former top brass in the US military & intelligence communities feel that the last leak in particular harmed &/or ran counter to US national interests. So you have folks who are more genuinely, professionally concerned, working together with the political opposition to make sure leaks of that nature don't reoccur -- this partnership of sorts is joined from time to time by members of the current admin's political party, but as this is an election year, such support is neither constant nor guaranteed. The 1st two mostly feel that if possible somebody should be punished if responsibility for the leaks can be pinned down to one [or a few] individual[s] -- so far that's been difficult, not just because of existing laws but because it would be damaging politically to the current admin & their political party.

The CSM story the Infosecurity & Neowin Editorials are based on -- A US House of Representatives' Judiciary subcommittee had hearings on these leaks... [basically they call in experts & each member gets to ask them questions, usually along with making whatever political statements -- that's normally the main or real purpose of the hearings, to engage in a bit of political theater, as House Reps & their aids can certainly talk to & question most anyone they want in a less official manner, but that would mean no TV crews etc.] According to the CSM report, "As the committee considers revising legislation that would prosecute leakers, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., also urged criminal prosecutions of reporters.", with "Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., the chairman of the subcommittee" commenting: "when the legislation was revamped it must address the over-classification of government information and create a standard of liability for those who leak classified information to someone without a security clearance. He said the potential to prosecute reporters also must be considered."

The Infosecurity linked Statement by Rep Smith -- It's titled "Statement of Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security Hearing on
“National Security Leaks and the Law”". [Note the Chairman title -- not co-chair -- & it's plainly obvious Smith is heading a different subcommittee than the one featured in the CSM report.] No mention is made of Stuxnet, nor prosecuting (let alone arresting) journalists, nor making any changes to any laws.

If you actually want, if anyone actually wants to join the fight to preserve Internet Freedom, please consider the way to fight lies is with truth, not more lies. And BTW, please consider trying not to make the rest of us look like idiots.

well, now...sounds like someone got their panties in a bunch because someone decided that the people should know what's REALLY going on behind our backs. What, did they expect everyone to be quiet forever? Sure, like that'll happen. Sometime, somewhere, someone with a truly good soul will let us all know just how bad we're getting the shaft when it comes down to legislature and government stuff, and that's just the way it goes. I mean, how long are people supposed to lay down and take it? I say, great job to whoever brought this stuff out to the public's attention. It's the senators and politicians that should be going to jail in the first place, because I don't care how much a person is out committing crime, it's THEM (politicians) who are more crooked than any criminal that I've personally ever met in MY lifetime...and I've met some really hard core criminals too, so yeah.....sorry to go on a rant there, but dang, it's so far beyond ridiculous that it isn't even real anymore. </rant> EDIT: And, just by the fact that this guy's coming out of TX makes me want to move to another state....seriously.

Ok so we have laws against leaking out illegal information to the public and this guy wants to make sure those that do it get punished and people here are complaining!??! Too many kids today think everything should be known well before anyone else "I Gotta know it FIRST!!". I'm sorry but there are just some things the public shouldn't know or needs to know to protect our national security.

sava700 said,
Ok so we have laws against leaking out illegal information to the public and this guy wants to make sure those that do it get punished and people here are complaining!??! Too many kids today think everything should be known well before anyone else "I Gotta know it FIRST!!". I'm sorry but there are just some things the public shouldn't know or needs to know to protect our national security.

And what about when something that should be known is covered up, just because it's embarrassing to someone? No one disputes that one things should be secret (someone mentioned nuclear launch codes up above), but waaaaaay too much stuff gets covered up because it's embarrassing or illegal in the first place.

THolman said,

And what about when something that should be known is covered up, just because it's embarrassing to someone? No one disputes that one things should be secret (someone mentioned nuclear launch codes up above), but waaaaaay too much stuff gets covered up because it's embarrassing or illegal in the first place.

Then you agree with Chairman Sensenbrenner, "it must address the over-classification of government information" as well as with Rep Smith's complaint: "Otherwise, the American people rightly can conclude that the Administration is hiding the truth".

sava700 said,
Ok so we have laws against leaking out illegal information to the public and this guy wants to make sure those that do it get punished and people here are complaining!??! Too many kids today think everything should be known well before anyone else "I Gotta know it FIRST!!". I'm sorry but there are just some things the public shouldn't know or needs to know to protect our national security.
Oh really? And who exactly decides what's "illegal and secret"? Oh that's right....

Your argument fails like a lead balloon going over a house. If you even began to know the dumb **** that's secret or even TSIG level your head would f***ing spin from how stupid it is. CLASSIFIED MEANS NOTHING. From experience, if it says classified that mean "we'd prefer no one to know but it's not a big deal if it gets out". Classified documents are not illegal to release, however, if you're DoD (or part of the government in general) you may receive administrative punishment to some extent. That's it.

Releasing TSIG marked information will cause you to disappear. Or be imprisoned for quite some time.

Unless everyone is prepared to overthrow their respective Governments,legal Systems & Corporations,they will find their freedoms ever diminished. Its the way of those who covet power & exercise it to work towards the repression of those who might seize that same power from them. Hence the ever more repressive law-making of our respective legislatures. Nothing we say here is going to change those essential Human behaviour traits.
Nice of them to give us little people this "Pressure Cooker Valve" called the Internet to vent our fears & anger against,eh?

Breaking the law is breaking the law..no mater why or who. Leaking classified info is illegal no matter the reason. So I say do it. Arrest them.

SharpGreen said,
Breaking the law is breaking the law..no mater why or who. Leaking classified info is illegal no matter the reason. So I say do it. Arrest them.
It may be against the law but I disagree with you totally on a ethical level. If it was the law to kill your neighbour would you do it? No. So don't throw, its the law argument out.

SharpGreen said,
Breaking the law is breaking the law..no mater why or who. Leaking classified info is illegal no matter the reason. So I say do it. Arrest them.

It's against the law to leak classified info. However, it's not illegal for the journalist to publish it. There is a difference between the leaker, who works for the US government, and the journalist and the publisher, who is protected by the US constitution.

Classic Neowin "good boy" logic LOL
Sorry but YOU fail and as usual I'm going to rub your nose in it now...

Minnesota:
--It is illegal to tease skunks.
--Every man in Brainerd is required by law to grow a beard.

Michigan:
--A state law stipulates that a woman's hair legally belongs to her husband.
--Under state law, dentists are officially classified as "mechanics."
--In Clawson, it is legal for a man to "sleep with his pigs, cows, horses, goats, and chickens."

New York:
--In Saten Island, it is illegal for a father to call his son a ****** or queer in an effort to curb girlie behavior.
--In NYC, "it is disorderly conduct for one man to greet another on the street by placing the end of his thumb against the tip of his nose and wiggling the extended fingers of that hand."

North Carolina:
--It is illegal to have sex in a Churchyard.
--It is illegal to make love on the floor of a hotel room between two double beds.

Oklahoma:
--Whale hunting is strictly forbidden.
--People who make "ugly faces" at dogs may be fined and/or jailed.

Ohio:
--In Columbus, it is illegal for stores to sell corn flakes on Sunday.
--In Oxford, it is illegal for a woman to disrobe in front of a man's picture.
--In Youngstown, it is illegal to run out of gas.

Oregon:
--The town of Hood River prohibits the act of juggling without a license.

Montana:
--In Whitehall, it is illegal to operate a vehicle with ice picks attached to the wheels.
--It is a felony for a wife to open her husband's mail.

Nebraska:
--If a child burps during a church service in Omaha, his or her parents may be arrested.
--It is illegal for a mother to give her daughter a perm without a state license.

Florida:
--Unmarried women who parachute on Sunday's will be jailed.

Georgia:
--In Quitman, it is illegal for a chicken to cross the road.
--In Columbus, it is illegal to sit on one's porch in an indecent position.

Pennsylvania:
--"Any motorist who sights a team of horses coming toward him must pull well off the road, cover his car with a blanket or canvas that blends with the countryside, and let the horses pass. If the horses appear skittish, the motorist must take his car apart piece by piece, and hide it under the nearest bushes."

Rhode Island:
--Its illegal to throw pickle juice on a trolley.

Tennessee:
--It is illegal to use a lasso to catch a fish.
--In Dyersburg, it is illegal for a woman to call a man for a date. --In Memphis, it is illegal for a woman to drive by herself; "a man must walk or run in front of the vehicle, waving a red flag in order to warn approaching pedestrians and motorists."

Texas:
--The entire Encyclopedia Britannica is banned because it contains a formula for making beer at home.
-It is illegal to milk another person's cow.

Utah:
--A husband is responsible for every criminal act committed by his wife in his presence.

Virginia:
--In Richmond, it is illegal to flip a coin in any eating establishment to determine who buys a cup of coffee.
--In Lebanon, it is illegal to kick your wife out of bed.

Vermont:
--It is illegal to deny the existence of God.
--It is illegal to whistle underwater.
--Women must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth.

Arkansas:
--A man can legally beat his wife, but no more than once a month.

California:
--In L.A., a man may legally beat his wife with a leather strap, as long as it is less than 2 inches wide, or she gives him permission to use a wider strap.
--It is a misdemeanor to shoot any kind of game from a moving vehicle, unless the target is a whale.

Massachusetts:
--It is illegal to wear a goatee without a license.
--North Andover prohibits its citizens from carrying "space guns."
--In 1659, the state outlawed Christmas.

Indiana:
--Monkey's are forbidden to smoke cigarettes in South Bend.

Illinois:
--In Chicago, it is illegal to take a french poodle to the Opera.
--According to state law, it is illegal to speak English. The officially recognized language is "American."
--In Joliet, it is illegal to mispronounce the name Joliet

SharpGreen said,
Breaking the law is breaking the law..no mater why or who. Leaking classified info is illegal no matter the reason. So I say do it. Arrest them.

But what if the law is being abused? Should no one object, just because it is the 'sacred' law?

thanks i came back because i felt the first part (my comment)
was a bit rude
The list i copied from a quick google search was hillarious i thought lol

we can't be lemmings..

THolman said,

But what if the law is being abused? Should no one object, just because it is the 'sacred' law?


Who gets to decide whether a law is being abused or not? There is no way to determine that isn't just someone's opinion.

I am Not PCyr said,
thanks i came back because i felt the first part (my comment)
was a bit rude
The list i copied from a quick google search was hillarious i thought lol

we can't be lemmings..

here in New Zealand it's illegal for an Taxi to not have a bale of hay in the boot and a shovel to clean up the crap

SharpGreen said,

Who gets to decide whether a law is being abused or not? There is no way to determine that isn't just someone's opinion.

The people control a democractic society. Therefore, you determine if it's being abused

ChrisJ1968 said,
I just wish Americans would wake up to what the government is doing along with the UN

I just wish Americans would wake up, period!!

If this was the 1700's, when citizens had balls, I'd be willing to be there would have already been a revolt against the government! The government is more asleep than the citizens, which is actually pretty hard to imagine!

cork1958 said,

If this was the 1700's, when citizens had balls, I'd be willing to be there would have already been a revolt against the government! The government is more asleep than the citizens, which is actually pretty hard to imagine!

Government? Pfft, we just want to play Angry Birds and watch Snooki, is that too much to ask?

THolman said,

Government? Pfft, we just want to play Angry Birds and watch Snooki, is that too much to ask?

Indeed: we replaced religion with the lures of a consumeristic society to act as opium for the masses.

Fritzly said,

Indeed: we replaced religion with the lures of a consumeristic society to act as opium for the masses.

Please leave religion out of this. That causes enough of it's own problems.

KCRic said,
Please leave religion out of this. That causes enough of it's own problems.

What I am talking is religion as a secular power, like in Europe in the XVI century., the iron Century.

I agree, arrest them all. We shouldn't be able to let journalists do such a stupid thing. While we're at it, repeal the stupid Whistleblower Protection Act too.

flexkeyboard said,
I agree, arrest them all. We shouldn't be able to let journalists do such a stupid thing. While we're at it, repeal the stupid Whistleblower Protection Act too.
You should look into moving to China you would love their laws.

Totalaero said,
You should look into moving to China you would love their laws.

Whaaa, why? China is becoming too capitalistic for me, I don't like it. I love my USA the way socialistic it's becoming.

flexkeyboard said,
I agree, arrest them all. We shouldn't be able to let journalists do such a stupid thing. While we're at it, repeal the stupid Whistleblower Protection Act too.
Are you paranoid?

flexkeyboard said,

Whaaa, why? China is becoming too capitalistic for me, I don't like it. I love my USA the way socialistic it's becoming.

Silly conservative, throwing around words he doesn't know cause Fox News taught him.

Why should governments be hiding stuff from us? We're the ones who live there. What would they do if we just left because they don't trust us?

harjeet said,
Why should governments be hiding stuff from us? We're the ones who live there. What would they do if we just left because they don't trust us?

Well, there are good reasons for some state secrets. It's not all bad. However, they abuse this to hide things that we really should know about.

harjeet said,
Why should governments be hiding stuff from us? We're the ones who live there. What would they do if we just left because they don't trust us?

the things that they 'should' be "hiding" are like locations of weapons lockers and passwords to nuclear launch programs O.O there *are* some things that the public just shouldn't know, but I agree it looks like the government is hiding a lot more than necessary.

Matthew_Thepc said,

the things that they 'should' be "hiding" are like locations of weapons lockers and passwords to nuclear launch programs O.O there *are* some things that the public just shouldn't know, but I agree it looks like the government is hiding a lot more than necessary.

Specifically, correct. I agree, not everything is for everyone. But as long as it affects us like i said.

harjeet said,
Why should governments be hiding stuff from us? We're the ones who live there. What would they do if we just left because they don't trust us?

Yes they dont trust us, no matter is right or left wing, conservatist or republican. They do care when elections are coming.
Law created behind closed doors, quickly implemented without public opposition or critical review have more chance to be respected, because citizens are faced with the facts - "they created law, so it must be good - moreover, theres nothing to argue about".
They want to control us, so we need to look at their work, hands to avoid such bs as SOPA, ACTA etc.

harjeet said,
Why should governments be hiding stuff from us? We're the ones who live there. What would they do if we just left because they don't trust us?

That's easy... Take whatever you used to type in your comment, PC, laptop whatever, abandon it on a street corner, & see if it's there tomorrow, & if so, what condition it's in. You can even attach a note if you like, "Please Don't Take Me" or whatever.

Stuff happens -- it could have rained, or a truck might have run over it, or several dogs relieved themselves, using it instead of a tree. And/or people sometimes do bad things to benefit themselves, so someone might just take your hardware.

That's essentially why any & all governments keep secrets. And why any & all governments have & use spies. SO as far as people leaving, to where? Your own island? Then you'd have to keep your location [& valuables] secret to [hopefully] avoid criminals &/or pirates, since there's no government to protect you.

On the one hand I have no sympathy for a country where the participation rate for voting is quite low so you essentially elected and continue to elect representatives who are happy to toss out your freedoms.

But on the other hand its like a lot of western governments are getting their approach to policy initiatives from China these days.

It's not sympathy we need. Watching the government and media machine systematically destroy Ron Paul (an actual choice of the people's vote) and rob us all of our "power" through voting was enough for me. There comes a time when talk alone is not enough. The internet poses a serious threat to these criminals, and they are actively dismantling it's effectiveness through vile little vermin like Lamar Smith. I'd love to just slap the #$#@ out of the morons that ARE actually voting this turd back into office...then again, who's to say diebold voting machines are helping that along as well.

You make it sound like our votes mean something, when in fact they don't. We also have no control over what they choose to put into law after they're elected. That is completely up to those in charge and people have no say in it.

Osiris said,
On the one hand I have no sympathy for a country where the participation rate for voting is quite low so you essentially elected and continue to elect representatives who are happy to toss out your freedoms.

I have no idea what you're talking about since every election many voters are so enthused they vote 2 or 3 or even more times. I mean, we even have dogs & cats & dead people continuing to register & vote each year. If you want to vote, come on over -- many places things like citizenship don't matter.

IF OTOH you were asking a serious question, or making a serious comment, I'd first ask to what country are you comparing US stats?

mikiem said,

I have no idea what you're talking about since every election many voters are so enthused they vote 2 or 3 or even more times. I mean, we even have dogs & cats & dead people continuing to register & vote each year. If you want to vote, come on over -- many places things like citizenship don't matter.

IF OTOH you were asking a serious question, or making a serious comment, I'd first ask to what country are you comparing US stats?

When a Citizen of the only left "Superpower" nation in order to express his/her vote has to wait at least two hours in line I have very serious concerns.....
Voting is a right..... and a duty, just check the "Republic" by Plato, and the "Institutions" should make the exercise of this fundamental act as smooth and simple as possible, not something like a Boot Camp.

I can honestly say Screw the author for any good reason. Call me whatever, but I'm more inclined to leaking information to get to the truth of something that could affect us all.

MrXXIV said,
I can honestly say Screw the author for any good reason. Call me whatever, but I'm more inclined to leaking information to get to the truth of something that could affect us all.

sorry, the author of the bill or the author of the article?

MrXXIV said,
I can honestly say Screw the author for any good reason.

Like others I'm confused -- sorry. There is no bill, as in legislation to oppose. Likewise there's no author of any proposed legislation because it doesn't exist. That leaves two.

There is the un-named author of the Infosecurity editorial, who deliberately or otherwise confused a couple of unrelated sources, a CSM report & a statement from Rep Smith, then used that as the basis for his/her editorial -- I say editorial since it adds comments & conclusions that must be the author's own simply because that stuff isn't found in either source listed.

Then you have the Neowin piece that further editorializes the infosecurity editorial.