Congress Has Lost All Perspective When It Considers Prosecuting Journalists As Spies

from the who's-the-real-enemy-of-the-state? dept

We've noted the unfortunate fact that President Obama has used the espionage act to go after whistleblowers, rather than actual spies. Similarly, we've been quite concerned that people have tried to paint organizations like Wikileaks as being criminal operations or guilty of violating the Espionage Act as well. While there may be many reasons to not like Wikileaks or Julian Assange, that does not mean that they're guilty of criminal activities in publishing classified information they obtain. That's what lots of reporters do.

And, in fact, as the EFF is warning, some in Congress are now turning their sights on reporters at the NY Times for daring to publish newsworthy material, dug up through traditional reporting means. In other words, the gradual expansion of the definitions here is putting reporters at risk. Already we expanded the definition of espionage to cover whistleblowers... and now they're trying to expand it to the press who report on the information leaked by whistleblowers.

At a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on July 11th, some members of Congress made it clear they also want New York Times journalists charged under the Espionage Act for their recent stories on President Obama’s ‘Kill List’ and secret US cyberattacks against Iran. During the hearing, House Republicans “pressed legal experts Wednesday on whether it was possible to prosecute reporters for publishing classified information,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

In addition, the Washingtonian’s Shane Harris reported a month ago that a “senior” Justice Department official “made it clear that reporters who talked to sources about classified information were putting themselves at risk of prosecution.”

Leaks big and small have been happening for decades—even centuries—and the most recent are comparable to several others. No journalist has ever been prosecuted under the Espionage Act and it has generally been accepted, even by Congress's own research arm, that the publication of government secrets by the press is protected speech under the First Amendment. Yet the government is actively investigating WikiLeaks and now threatening others for just that.

It's hard not to be offended by the disdain for the Constitution displayed by these politicians. Even if no one actually goes through with a prosecution against a journalist, the chilling effects have already made their mark. Reporters are likely to think twice now about publishing that big scoop, exposing questionable government behavior, because those within the government seem to think that actually revealing troubling facts about the government is akin to being a spy.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 7:41am

    "...turning their sites on reporters at the NY Times..."

    should be "...turning their sights on reporters at the NY Times..."

    Other than that, this post really isn't saying anything *new* or even *unbeknownst* to most people.

    Our Government is corrupt as any other 'first world' country, with the possible exception of (As you mentioned earlier today) Norway.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 7:42am

    Re:

    Before I forget, FIRST!!!

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 7:44am

    "turning their sites on reporters"

    Shouldn't that be "turning their sights on reporters"? Unless, of course, you are referring to the Congressional websites...

     

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    Machin Shin (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 7:47am

    Yet another very clear signal that this government is out of control. These things they are going after reporters for is the VERY REASON that we have the 1st amendment.

    Freedom of speech is supposed to allow us to talk out about the things we do not like about the Government. That is the very point of it. Now the Government is trying to pretend that if they put a big red classified stamp on something then they can get away with it.

    It is time for the people to wake up and realize what is happening. Our government is out of control and trying to run every aspect of our lives. Their methods are simple, they just keep screaming about terrorist or that it is "for the children".

    It makes me sick seeing how much freedom has been taken away "for our own good". FUCK THAT. I'm much more afraid of what my own damn government is trying to do that I am of any "terrorist".

     

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  5.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 7:50am

    Why Bother!?!?

    I see no point in their prosecution when we could just add them to the drone 'kill list' and call it a day.

    (Plus, it would make great news for other journalists to reports on! Kinda like a shark feeding frenzy...)

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 7:50am

    Re:

    Come on, aren't we techies do these typos all the time: "sites ," "underware"....

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 7:58am

    Dammit Mike. I was told that it was Google that was killing journalism!

     

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  8.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 7:59am

    I'm so old that I remember when whistleblowers were protected. Now even reporting about whistleblowers can get you arrested.

    Beware Mike, pretty soon reporting about reporters who report about whistleblowrs will also be considered treason.

     

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  9.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 8:02am

    Re: Re: UW

    Underware (noun)

    1. Hardware which is placed under a desk.
    2. Hardware which is worn or used below the belt.

    Example: Dude, today I totally blew out my underware on that maneuver!

     

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  10.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 8:02am

    Re:

    Shit, pretty soon commenting about reports concerning reporters reporting about whistleblowers will also be treason. I'm screwed!

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 8:03am

    No journalist has ever been prosecuted under the Espionage Act and it has generally been accepted, even by Congress's own research arm, that the publication of government secrets by the press is protected speech under the First Amendment. Yet the government is actively investigating WikiLeaks and now threatening others for just that.

    Wikileaks hardly represents a journalism enterprise.

     

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  12.  
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    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 8:05am

    It's a very odd situation

    If you give one entity state secrets, you're a spy and the punishment can get as nasty as execution. If you just shout the same secrets to the entire world, you're a journalist and may wind up with a Pulitzer. Something about that is decidedly screwed up no matter what your feelings are about the specifics.

     

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    Gwiz (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 8:10am

    Re:

    Wikileaks hardly represents a journalism enterprise.

    Really? What makes a "journalism enterprise" in your mind?

    A press pass from the White House?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 8:11am

    Re:

    And neither does Techdirt, unless you mean Yellow Journalism, which case Techdirt is a perfect example.

    Right, Pirate Mike? Great FUD piece you wrote here. The government is so scary and mean! OMG!

     

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  15.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 8:11am

    Re: The Journalists are cumming!

    Yes, publishing something in such a way that most of the world can access and read it hardly qualifies in any way as a journalistic act... [/sarc]

     

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  16.  
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    lucidrenegade (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 8:16am

    Re: Re:

    You just lost any cred your original post may have gotten you.

     

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  17.  
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    lucidrenegade (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 8:19am

    Re: Re:

    Arrgh, bitch!

     

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  18.  
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    Pixelation, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 8:20am

    List

    "Congress Has Lost All Perspective When..."

    1) Congress lost all perspective when allowing corporations the same rights as people. (they haven't clarified the law to eliminate corporate personhood). I'm still waiting for a draft to see how corporations react to being drafted.

     

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  19.  
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    Michael, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 8:22am

    When it comes to spying, our government takes the cake what with all the domestic spying programs they've got going. Needless to say, they're in no position to talk.

     

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  20.  
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    Tim, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 8:24am

    Oops, wrong word

    >>turning their sites on reporters at the NY Times

    Should be "sights"

     

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  21.  
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    Joe Hummer, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 8:25am

    Turn in your neighbor to the authorities, but:

    we must still bellow "Freedumb!" and shout "U.S.A.!" and pound our chests like demented chimpanzees wave a US flag every 1/4 second. Oh, and buy shit and kill 'folks', of course.

    I mean, what's a fascist warrior state without symbolism?

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re:

    Yellow? Are you retarded?

    Techdirt is clearly around 50% BLUE and 50% grey-ish (I'm ignoring the background).

    Stupid trolls can't even tell the colors apart anymore.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 8:28am

    Re: Re:

    In my mind, there is a significant difference between the NYT or CNN and a website that simply exists to republish classified information. Revealing classified documents is not the core business model of news organizations; it is incidental to what they do. And in fact, legitimate news organizations often show some discretion in what classified information they publish by reviewing it, limiting it and sometimes even talking with the affected agency about what they intend to publish and why.

    Assange must be truly desperate to seek sanctuary in Ecuador. It's an ass-backward banana republic with a history of authoritarian rule and censorship. I wonder how long he will last there. If he sets foot out of that country or there is a (likely) regime change, he'll be on a plane to the US pretty quickly.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 8:37am

    Re:

    Any congressman proposing this should be arrested for treason.

     

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  25.  
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    Danny (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 8:38am

    Re: Re:

    You still read each post though don't you! You like Mike really.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 8:39am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "In my mind, there is a significant difference between the NYT or CNN and a website that simply exists to republish classified information"

    Never mind the fact that Wikileaks painstakingly goes through all the info they collect and do some filtering of their own before releasing it.

    Also, never mind the fact that, before they released some of their latest bundles of data (before they were squeezed out, that is) that they worked directly with some news entities (like The Guardian).

    But your rant is good too.

     

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  27.  
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    Sneeje (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 8:43am

    Re: Re: Re:

    First, they do not exist solely to republish classified information. They exist to republish information that governments, corporations, or other organizations do not wish to share with those they impact or affect.

    That is very different and highly fundamental to journalism.

    And to your point about discretion--many journalists would argue that discretion often perverts independence and therefore undermines the objectives of journalism.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 8:49am

    Re: It's a very odd situation

    That doesn't strike me as odd. If you acquire some state secrets and give them to only one entity, you obviously didn't want anyone else knowing that you had them, and that seems more in line with actual espionage.
    If you acquire some state secrets and publish them, then it's clearly something you wanted everyone to know, and wanted everyone to know was compromised. Why you would do that if you were spying?
    But the real problem here is going after journalists for reporting on information others have leaked. That's a pretty serious First Amendment breach.

     

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  29.  
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    Aliasundercover, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 8:51am

    Nothing New

    Only a shadow of what has gone before. Remind yourself of what passed for perspective in Congress when our country was new.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_and_Sedition_Acts

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 8:52am

    more than anything, this is to try to stop any reports about the questionable behaviour of all politicians, particularly when it comes to who gets how much from where for lobbying

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 9:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    he didn't filter shit, why he deserves execution, and anyone else who releases clasified documents, just because they can

     

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  32.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 9:03am

    Re: Re:

    Drinking the Govt kool-aid much lately? Ignorance is a bliss ain't it?

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 9:04am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "And in fact, legitimate news organizations often show some discretion in what classified information they publish by reviewing it, limiting it and sometimes even talking with the affected agency about what they intend to publish and why."

    Uhh...you mean...like WikiLeaks did. Good job.

     

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  34.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 9:06am

    It is worrying to see how dangerously close to fascism the US are. Maybe it's the natural course of things and every nation needs a revolution every once in a while. And we thought Animal Farm was a book about socialism. In the end it's all the same, power corrupts.

     

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  35.  
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    Mwhahaha, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 9:21am

    It's called classified information for a reason. If you tell an enemy state that classified information either directly or via an open website, that's still espionage and aiding an enemy.

    If wikileaks found out about plans to stop a terror attack and published them causing the attack to be directed elsewhere resulting in thousands dead... well... doesn't bear thinking about does it?

    Journalists have to be responsible for their behaviours just as much as the Govt.

     

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  36.  
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    drew (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 9:24am

    Re: Re: Re:

    It's a needful thing, having put up with all his (hers?) posts I think what we're dealing with is a classic cry for attention.
    Besides which, they've probably been banned from a load of other sites...

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 9:33am

    Re:

    The government has to be responsible for its behavior? Could've fooled me.

     

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  38.  
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    Who, Me?, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 9:36am

    Spies for God?

    Are we not all spies for God (just most don't know it, until the Big by-and-by). If JC were to return, he would likely be Gitmo'd and waterboarded because (illegal alien; a threat to national security). What a looney-tune world this is.

     

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  39.  
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    Machin Shin (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 9:37am

    Re: Re:

    Not only arrested for treason but should be tried and if found guilty receive the punishment for treason. Of course if we actually start doing that for all the politicians committing treason we will end up executing over half of Washington.

     

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  40.  
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    Machin Shin (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 9:40am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Of course now that I posted that I suddenly get the feeling I should get ready for the guys to storm in with the flashbangs...

    Or actually I should probably warn my neighbors, I mean what am I thinking, they will never actually hit the right house on the first try.

     

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  41.  
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    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 9:42am

    Re: Re: It's a very odd situation

    It doesn't at all bother you that telling a small number of people something gets you in trouble but telling everyone is peachy?

    The person who gives classified info to one reporter (or company/govt/etc...): prosecuted. The reporter who gives it to world+dog: cheered. It's the same information. The only difference is the scope of distribution. Less distribution = more punishment just does not make sense unless their goal is to have no secrets.

     

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  42.  
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    Mark K, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 9:54am

    Isn't this similar to receiving stolen goods?

    People who knowingly, and sometimes not knowingly, buy stolen goods have been prosecuted. What diference is this. If a reporter knows the information was obtained through espianage why should they feel they are required to further release that information.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 9:57am

    Re: Re: Re: It's a very odd situation

    First of all, I've already explained why that doesn't inherently bother me: the scope of the disclosure says a lot about your motives.
    And if I were an entity with valuable secrets, I would certainly and without hesitation prefer any of them that were leaked to be leaked to everyone, instead of merely to one or a handful of people who would best exploit them.

     

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  44.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 10:00am

    Re: Re:

    So...are you saying that the US government is NOT scary and big? I certainly consider it to be mean and scary, what with the extra-legal drone killings, no trials for Guantanamo detainees and other practices.
    And why call him "Pirate Mike" in an article that has NOTHING to do with copyright infringement?

     

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  45.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 10:05am

    Re:

    Except none of the information was leaked directly to an "enemy" unless you call the population of Earth the enemy.
    Wikileaks obtained information that was, at worst, embarrassing to the US Government. There were no US secret agents harmed by the release of the information, despite what others have said (because if there were, we would have heard about it).

     

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  46.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 10:08am

    Re: Isn't this similar to receiving stolen goods?

    Stolen goods? HAHAHAHAH! My god, you are truly stretching it. Do you equate infringing copyright of digital files to stealing too?
    Allowing reporters to report on information they have obtained from others is the core of the First Amendment. The principle is that others dig up information that the government is involved in scandal/scary/illegal actions, the reporter gets this information and then publishes it. Its to help keep the government accountable for its actions. By seeking to prosecute journalists, the government is seeking to scare others into not publishing classified info and thus, keep any illegal actions secret.

     

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  47.  
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    Brent (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 10:34am

    Soon there will be guys driving around neighborhoods in vans with 12 computers monitoring conversations and cataloging all the data collected to determine actual public opinion on certain subjects so they can tell the 'Central News Authority' what to report for the evening news. Wait, that was "V for Vendetta", not America...

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 10:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    They could just do a drone strike and blow up you and half the neighborhood. And when it comes out in the news that a couple dozen innocents were injured or killed, the government will just say that they were "guilty by vicinity" much like "guilty by association" or "guilty since a lobbyist told me so."

     

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  49.  
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    Vic, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 10:39am

    Ah, the witch hunt! Any politician's favorite game! How do you spell neo-McCarthyism?

     

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  50.  
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    LDoBe (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 10:47am

    Re: List

    It's interesting you mention the draft. I remember seeing a bunch of old films and reading in a lot of textbooks about the war effort at home during WWII, and it seems to me like Boeing and other large companies essentially were drafted. (I grew up in Seattle so I've been to all the museums a zillion times.)

    Boeing made a killing supplying bombers, and if they didn't offer their services, they would have been in a world of hurt. All commercial aviation development was halted during the war in order to supply bombers, and parts for other planes.

     

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  51.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re: Isn't this similar to receiving stolen goods?

    And they whine about Hugo Chávez and the likes. Pretty interesting huh?

     

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  52.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 10:50am

    Re:

    Except that anything and everything seems to be classified information in the US Govt nowadays huh?

     

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  53.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 10:56am

    Re: Isn't this similar to receiving stolen goods?

    Except that 1- it wasn't stolen, no1 was deprived of the original contents, 2- it was not obtained via espionage and 3- it highlights US wrongdoings.

    Wikileaks has disclosed this type of information from many Govts around the globe, even exposing very problematic stuff and providing fertile grounds for change in some countries that have/had tyrannical and/or corrupt Governments.

    The Government polices us and enforces the law. Who polices the police and enforces the Constitution? Bingo.

     

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  54.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 10:59am

    Re: Re:

    > Any congressman proposing this should be
    > arrested for treason.

    Or just simple criminal stupidity. Have these guys never heard of the Pentagon Papers case? Landmark Supreme Court decision upholding the right of the press to publish classified information-- even troop movements during a time of war-- without prosecution. Taught in high schools across the land. (Or at least it used to be. Who the hell knows what they're teaching now? Basic Civics has probably been replaced by Appreciation of Transgendered Diversity or something else equally appalling.)

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 11:04am

    Re: Isn't this similar to receiving stolen goods?

    Hypothetically speaking

    So for intance, we should ignore stuff like corruption, because the information was "obtained" illegally, how convenient and totally ineffective.
    What if that corruption reveals certain facts, what if that information puts certain things into perspective, what if that information is the only proof of suspected corruption.....well, i guess its a good thing the law is followed, and the proof declared illegal, because laws are there for a reason, and only a fool would think every single law is not there for our well being, if you question them, then your obviously a delinquent.

    /s

    What if the very corruption reveals the law against whitleblowers was born out of corruption.
    Whoahhhh, mind = blown

     

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  56.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 12:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes they did.

     

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  57.  
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    Tim, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 12:23pm

    What a joke

    Isn't this just congress inadvertently admitting that it views the public sector as an enemy?

     

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  58.  
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    Anti-Constitutional-Terrorist-Squad, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 12:31pm

    Sounds like we in the military need to do what we swore to do when we joined. Uphold the constitution against enemies foreign and domestic.

    If the Senate and House are now enemies of the constitution, then let us treat them as such and take those constitutional terrorists out just like we would any other terrorist.

     

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  59.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Re: List

    Boeing shouldn't have made more than any other G.I.

     

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  60.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    In my mind, there is a significant difference between the NYT or CNN and a website that simply exists to republish classified information.

    Yes there are differences. Still doesn't explain why what Wikileaks does wouldn't be considered journalism. It seems like you are using the "I know it when I see it" method here.


    Revealing classified documents is not the core business model of news organizations; it is incidental to what they do.

    I'm not sure what their business model has to to with anything. The AP is a non-profit. Does that mean that they are not a news organization. What about all the news programs on Public Broadcasting and NPR?


    And in fact, legitimate news organizations often show some discretion in what classified information they publish by reviewing it, limiting it and sometimes even talking with the affected agency about what they intend to publish and why.

    You act like this a good thing. I'm not convinced. Take this example of reporter Steve Wilson, WTVT and Monsanto. It appears that the story was originally killed because of Monsanto and members of Florida’s dairy and grocery industries. WTVT did eventually run the story, but only after it was watered down quite a bit. I'm sure there are tons of other examples out there - like ABC (Disney) barely mentioning the SOPA protests.

     

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  61.  
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    JK, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 12:59pm

    Re: It's a very odd situation

    Secrets are usually kept in government affairs so that power can be held over certain individuals/groups. Once that secret becomes public knowledge, there's no power to be gained or lost from it.

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 1:01pm

    Re: It's a very odd situation

    i think the distinction is whether the government should be doing what they are doing. If they are committing illegal acts under national or international law then anyone revealing that is a whistleblower. If the person revealing it is a news organization then they are a reporter or journalist. Wikileaks needs to be defined as something in either of those ranges, but that hasn't been done. They would clear themselves of a lot of harmful intent if they somehow became a journalism organization.

     

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  63.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 1:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You clearly don't know the first thing about wikileaks.

    But even if your accusation is true, execution, really? You do know that wikileaks didn't even break US law, right? If we're going to have capital punishment, it should at least be restricted to people who commit felonies.

     

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  64.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 1:21pm

    Re: It's a very odd situation

    If you give one entity state secrets, you're a spy and the punishment can get as nasty as execution. If you just shout the same secrets to the entire world, you're a journalist and may wind up with a Pulitzer.


    Not quite. There's a very clear difference.

    If you gather the data illicitly (wire taps, breaking and entering, etc.), you are a spy and have broken the law. Or, if you have legal access to the information but are under an obligation not to disclose it but you do anyway, you are a spy and have broken the law.

    However, if you have received this information without breaking the law or a nondisclosure obligation and you distribute it, you are not spying and have not broken the law, even if someone else did break it to get the information originally.

    So, for example, if someone obtains a Top Secret document and gives it to me, I can legally share it as much as I want. I have committed no crime, and have no secrecy obligation. This is the position that newspapers (and WikiLeaks) is in.

    The only problem area is if I induce someone else to spy. That is what the WikiLeaks investigation was about -- if the government could show that WikiLeaks conspired with Assange to get him to grab the memos, then WL has a problem. If he just got them and handed them to WL without WL asking him to, then WL is in the clear.

     

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  65.  
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    Purpleslog, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 1:22pm

    Wikileaks used to describe themselves as an intellgence agency

    As for Wikileaks, they described themselves as an Intellgence Agency way back at their start.

    I noted that back then in this blog post:

    https://purpleslog.wordpress.com/2007/12/22/wiki-for-anti-anti-islamofascists-and-the-pract ice-of-open-source-espionage/

    Here is the example still available from the Wayback Machine of the Wikileaks website:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20070928101508/http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Wikileaks:About

     

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  66.  
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    Machin Shin (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Of course they could try to get me at work.. That would just be hilariously ironic if they double down and hit a newspaper...

     

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  67.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 2:01pm

    Re:

    What on earth are you talking about? They gets the information and they publishes it.

     

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  68.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 2:01pm

    Re:

    It's called classified information for a reason. If you tell an enemy state that classified information either directly or via an open website, that's still espionage and aiding an enemy.

    Aiding an enemy? Whose enemy? Wikileaks isn't an US entity and Assange isn't a US citizen. Now Bradley Manning is in a bit of a different situation.


    If wikileaks found out about plans to stop a terror attack and published them causing the attack to be directed elsewhere resulting in thousands dead... well... doesn't bear thinking about does it?

    No. Not really. Wikileaks hasn't done anything like that as far as I know. Let's stay focused on actual events and facts, not scary fantasies you are dreaming up.


    Journalists have to be responsible for their behaviours just as much as the Govt.

    Please explain exactly how Wikileaks has been irresponsible here.

     

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  69.  
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    Christopher (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 2:06pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Problem is that those Supreme Court decisions can be overturned by a later Supreme Court, something that many people forget and dismiss because it has been done so few times in the past.

     

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  70.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 2:10pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Why would he call on the US? Do you somehow imagine that it's not now on peoples' "dubious government" list? Do you think the US is not now associated with human rights abuses, lawless and corrupt government, a lack of civil rights and is not increasingly being classified in peoples' mind as a a rogue regime?

    Where have you been the last decade or so?

     

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  71.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 2:15pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    It takes courage to stand up to bully's... if you see a wrong and instead turn your head and say it's "classified" therefore I will ignore it you are no better the the wrongdoer and as such a coward for not righting the wrong. If on the other hand you risk your freedom to expose the wrong you are indeed a person of courage. I have respect for the latter the former are just useless skin bags of shit.

     

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  72.  
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    Christopher (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 2:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Hit the nail on the head with the 'discretion causes problems'.

    Personally, I feel that journalists should publish ALL papers they get with NO redaction on them. Redaction just allows people who were involved in various criminal or 'damaging to the image of our country' actions to get off scott-free.

     

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  73.  
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    Christopher (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 2:28pm

    Re: Re: It's a very odd situation

    True. Many 'state secrets' are to coverup things that any sane individual would call illegal, such as the Tuskegee Experiments years ago.

    I don't understand why that is so hard for people to fathom.

     

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  74.  
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    Christopher (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 2:30pm

    Re:

    I'd prefer to take out terrorists by putting them in front of a court of law.

    This whole 'summary killing' makes my gut roil because it is the same shit that the police got in trouble for back in the 1960's with black men accused of crimes.

     

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  75.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 2:33pm

    Congress has lost all perspective on everything, period.

     

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  76.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 2:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    He does not deserve execution. No one had much of a problem with him or the organization that he is merely one representative of when the secrets published belonged to governments who did not happen to be the US. Funny that.

    The problem is of course that there is a good reason to suspect that far too much information is secret not for good faith national security reasons but for more under handed reasons.

    There is not one known incident where the US's national security has been harmed as a result of all those disclosures. A huge volume of information allegedly classified for the US's well being and to secure and protect her, yet nothing bad other than some embarrassment occurs when that huge volume of information is released?

    The obvious conclusion is that information that does not risk the US's national security when released is being kept classified for reasons other than the US's national security.

    Democracy relies on information. This degree and volume of unnecessary secrets is more of a risk to the national security of a nation that imagines itself a democracy than Wikileaks.

     

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  77.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 2:44pm

    Re: Re:

    Better thinkers than you have asserted that a people should be afraid of a government that is not afraid of them. Those betteer thinkers were entirely right about that.

    The US government is currently more contemptuous of its people than afraid of them. Hence its people would be wise to be wary of it.

     

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  78.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 2:47pm

    Re: It's a very odd situation

    Yes, it's the spies.

     

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  79.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 2:52pm

    Re: List

    The Constitution has to be amended to fix it.

     

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  80.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 3:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    They will just call him a terrorist and blame the entire explosion on him.

     

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  81.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 3:44pm

    If they are contemplating this, they must be doing a lot of things that are illegal.

     

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  82.  
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    Tony MC (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 4:13pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    because his name is Mike and he's a pirate?

     

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  83.  
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    Tony MC (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 4:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: It's a very odd situation

    their goal is to have no secrets that shouldn't have been secrets in the first place.

    look, you guys aren't even funny any more. publish it unredacted - ooooh, wikileaks leaks state secrets, kill it. be discrete and redact before publishing - oooooh, wikileaks has an agenda, it publishes only damaging things. what is it that you want wikileaks to do?

    consider the following scenario. let's say you fired someone over being gay, and successfully obtained a gag order over this information, so even talking to anyone about it is a felony. somehow, this information ends up in the public, and now you're in trouble. is it wrong or you got what you deserve?

     

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  84.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 4:39pm

    Re:

    mostly under the guise of protecting us from terrorism and such

     

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  85.  
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    JMT (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 5:34pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "In my mind, there is a significant difference between the NYT or CNN and a website that simply exists to republish classified information."

    You do realise the Wikleaks has been releasing unclassified and non-government info for years, and continues to do so, right?

    Perhaps you shouldn't be so quick to criticise an organisation you know so little about.

     

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  86.  
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    JMT (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 5:51pm

    Re:

    "It's called classified information for a reason."

    But unfortunately a lot of the info Wikileaks has released should not be classified, because it served no national security purpose and was merely embarrassing to those involved. That's not the way classifying of info should be used.

    "If you tell an enemy state that classified information either directly or via an open website, that's still espionage and aiding an enemy."

    Can you point to any evidence that any of America's enemies have been aided in any substantial or material way by Wikileaks releases? And no, confirming an already low opinion doesn't count.

    "If wikileaks found out about plans to stop a terror attack and published them causing the attack to be directed elsewhere resulting in thousands dead... well... doesn't bear thinking about does it?"

    You're right, your made-up fantasy doesn't bear thinking about, because it hasn't happened and is not going to happen.

    "Journalists have to be responsible for their behaviours just as much as the Govt."

    If a journalist has evidence of corporate or governmental misbehaviour that has strong public interest, it is irresponsible for that journalist to not publish it. Governments in particular should always operate under the fear that their actions could one day be made very public.

     

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  87.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 6:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    He claims to have reached a hundred bookmarks on Masnick's posting where he can laugh at Mike for refusing to deal with his "fuck off and die"s.

    I swear, the guy probably masturbates to this thought every day or something.

     

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  88.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 10:01pm

    Re:

    There's the rub.

    They are only doing something illegal if CAUGHT. If you stop anybody ever having the capacity to catch them out on committing illegal acts by making it illegal to catch them out then they (politicians et.al) will never be 'technically' committing illegal acts.

    QED

     

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  89.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 10:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    While normally I would agree with you, there are times when removing facts could be more than justified. A list of names and aliases of say mob informers, if published, would almost certainly bring about a number of deaths that could have easily been prevented.

    Just about anything short of information that would threaten lives if published I'd say is fair game though.

    So info that is embarrassing to a highly ranked official, up to and including the ruler of a country? Fair game. Info that if released would have a high chance of directly causing needless deaths? Not so much.

     

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  90.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 10:26pm

    Turnabout is apparently Not fair play after all

    (Insert country here): 'If you don't have anything to hide, you won't object to all this surveillance. After all, only the guilty would object to the measures we're putting in place. You're not guilty are you?'

    What's that (insert country here), you really, really don't like it when people can see what it is you're doing behind the scenes?

    Interesting.

     

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  91.  
    identicon
    Han Solo, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 10:16am

    Not Spies..

    Spies no...

    but journalists today are all traitors worthy of hanging from the gallows? Yes.

     

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  92.  
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    Chargone (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 11:19pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    using 'unbeknownst' for 'unknown' kinda did that too.

     

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  93.  
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    Chargone (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 11:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: UW

    ...

    ...

    ...

    what does that example even SAY?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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