Former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Says Anti-Terror Laws Should Be Used To Stop Investigative Journalism
from the wtf? dept
He suggested new laws were needed to cover those who obtained secret material without proper authority.Of course, pretty much any journalist on the national security beat has ended up with "secret material without proper authority" at one point or another. It's part of being an investigative journalist and uncovering the secrets that government officials like to keep secret. It's also known as holding the government accountable -- and apparently Lord Blair thinks that holding the government accountable in such a manner should be a crime.
Lord Blair told BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House programme: "The state has to have secrets - that's how it operates against terrorists.Almost no one is arguing that the government should never have secrets. The problem is that they're using those "secrets" to abuse their power, trample individual rights, and spy on everyone. There's a pretty big spectrum between arguing that such unchecked power needs to be held accountable and "the government can't have any secrets."
"It has to have the right to preserve those secrets and we have to have a law that covers a situation when somebody, for all sorts of wonderfully principled reasons, wishes to disclose those secrets.
"It just is something that is extremely dangerous for individual citizens to [make] those secrets available to the terrorists."
And then, of course, there's the insanity that unveiling government misconduct is automatically being seen as making "secrets available to the terrorists." That's ridiculous. Especially when you look and realize that really nothing that's been released actually helps terrorists. All it's really done is show how the government abuses their surveillance powers.
To argue, in response, that the answer is criminalizing investigative reporting is nothing short of insane.