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Officer, We Was Just Talking

Jack Shafer at Slate is worried that using espionage laws could have a chilling effect on the widespread illegal flow of classified information to reporters.  He would like you to think of these criminal transactions as “conversations.”

National-security reporters—none of whom have clearances—receive classified information for a living. If the government used espionage law to investigate government leaks to the press, the effect would be an unofficial secrets act criminalizing thousands, if not tens of thousands, of annual conversations between sources and reporters.

His hasty generalization (I hope) that national-security reporters break the law thousands “if not tens of thousands” of times a year begs the question: If you have to break the law to do your job, is it the right job for you?

Hat tip: Vodkapundit

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Mr. Moffat is a freelance writer in Bethesda, Md.

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