5th Column use of lawfare

Categorization comes after recognition of existence. Frank Gaffney describes four categories of fifth columnists against the GWOT in Shielding official leakers. The subject is the “Free Flow of Information Act (FFIA) of 2007” (S. 2035) perhaps better known as the “media shield” law. “It would be more accurate to call it the Leaker and Other Enemies Shield Act.”

It uses the rubric of openness and freedom of the press to rationalize its barriers to prosecuting the divulging of information that government would rather not be paraded on headlines.

In short, the Free Flow of Information Act is not about freedom of the press. It is about freeing government officials of their legal responsibilities and enabling those who would do us all harm — whether intentionally or in the name of “the people’s right to know.”

You cannot conduct any sort of successful operation against criminals, terrorists, or other enemies if you broadcast the details and intent first. This proposed bill is another example of pushing the line between the need for accountability of government action and the, sometimes competing, need for governmental effectiveness. The effort is particularly hypocritical when it is attempting to protect leaks that have impaired effectiveness so that the lack of effectiveness could then be used as a political weapon.

Paranoia and suspicion can only go so far before they become an illness. The US government structure was formed as a balance between the reality of human frailty and the need for effective governance. It may be that the paranoia and suspicion that motivates bills such as S2035 may be getting a bit too far.

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