Some officials say the Associated Press scoop on a thwarted terrorist plot by an Al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen harmed the effort to neutralize a master bomb-builder. Does that excuse the Obama administration's aggressive crackdown on national security leaks?
Very bad, according to most journalism professionals worried about sources – especially whistleblowers – refusing to talk for fear of Big Government retribution.
“First Amendment radicals – I count myself among them – resist any and all such intrusions,” writes Reuters columnist Jack Shafer. “You can’t very well have a free press if every unpublished act of journalism can be co-opted by cops, prosecutors and defense attorneys.”
But it’s still unclear how serious the leak was that led to the AP’s scoop about a foiled terrorist plot in Yemen and then to the sweeping search for the leaker. Did it in fact “put people at risk,” as President Obama suggested this week?
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