June 11th, 2013
10:58 PM ET
10 months ago

King: Journalists in classified leak cases should face punishment

(CNN) – Rep. Peter King said Tuesday night that journalists tied to leaks involving classified programs should be punished along with those who leaked the information.

"If they willingly knew that this was classified information, I think actions should be taken, especially on something of this magnitude," King told CNN's Anderson Cooper.

A New York Republican, King leads the House Homeland Security subcommittee on Counterintelligence and Terrorism.

His comments come as many in his party have sharply criticized the Department of Justice for seeking a search warrant of a Fox News reporter's emails and phone records following his involvement with a 2009 leak case.

"There is an obligation both moral, but also legal, I believe, against a reporter disclosing something which would so severely compromise national security," he said. "As a practical matter, I guess there have been in the past several years a number of reporters who have been prosecuted under (the Espionage Act)."

After King's interview, Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald responded skeptically on Twitter.

As for the National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, King said there's no doubt he should face charges.

"I think what he's done has been incredible damage to our country. It's going to put American lives at risk," he said.

The congressman did not provide specific examples of how the leaked information damages national security, but argued that it helps enemies of the United States.

"Al Qaeda and its allies now know with great exactitude exactly what we're doing," he said, "and how we're doing it."


Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (260 Responses)
  1. volley

    what was revealed other than the code name for the program...

    the NSA program was revealed years ago on PBS Nova " the spy factory"

    June 12, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  2. maskddingo

    Great so rep King wants to take away the freedomof the press. This is a dangerous attitude for someone in power to have. Time for him to go.

    June 12, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  3. The Greater Good

    Lets punish everyone who has the audacity to imply that our historic rights are disappearing into a police state.

    June 12, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  4. hammilton

    I don't see how anything is changed by Al Queada being aware of this program. We're still collecting all of this info. Arethey going to stop using phones and switch to messenger pigeons?

    June 12, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  5. Darkseider

    Any government representative that wants to squelch the press, free speech and in this case what amounts to one of the largest infringements of civil liberties against the American people should be removed from office. Rep. Peter King should be hauled out of his office and tarred and feathered publicly before being relieved of his position.

    June 12, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. Leachim

    Rep. King should be charged with treason. He was responsible in the congress for covering up those violations of the constitution. That is why he now demands so loud that everyone go to jail – except him. I think he should lead the way and go first, hand in hand with Clapper.

    June 12, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  7. Blakbeatle

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    June 12, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  8. Seth A Drekin

    Freedom of the Press does not grant amnesty for treason. If someone knowingly releases classified information that does not explicitly expose Corruption they should be punished. If their actions result in the death of American Citizens, they should be held responsible for those deaths. The Semi-Legitimate Press, Website and Blogs, have been playing fast and loose with the First Amendment for years now and it is high time they get put in their place. The Legitimate Press needs to know they cannot follow suit and publish classified information just for the sake of being sensationalists.

    June 12, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. Thomas

    King is out of his realm !

    June 12, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    joeyjoe wrote:

    Great, you trample on everyone's 4th amendment rights with PRISM, now you want to trample on this reporters 1st amendment ones too.
    --------------–
    To all of those who feel that their 4th amendment right to illegal search and seizure has been violated, I have some really bad news for you. You signed away your rights when you agreed to the "Terms Of Use" agreement with your phone carrier or social web site. Suck it up, because you're dead wrong to say the government violated your rights.

    Besides, this is old news. No one got this upset when it was discovered that the Bush administration was using this same database to initiate warrantless wiretaps. Even a Gallup poll at the time (dated Feb 24, 2006) showed that 53% of people approved of warrantless wiretaps, with 46% disapproving. So, what's the big fuss about now? We've known about this database for over 7 years already. Bush broke the law, while Obama has been following it by obtaining warrants to monitor groups like the AP or a reporter associated with Fox.

    June 12, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Blakbeatle

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
    --------------
    Except for when a person signs a contract, willingly giving up his rights. Read your "Terms Of Use" agreements.

    June 12, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    The Constitution is merely a piece of paper. Of no meaning or consequence. Seems that way to all of our government officials. Obama included.

    June 12, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  13. Moose VA

    Peter King is a dirt bag! The NSA and the government are in a tizzy because of one thing...... They were caught lying again and they gotta persecute the one who uncovered their lies!!! Ben Franklin said it best...." If you are willing to sacrifice freed for protection, then you deserve NEITHER"!!

    June 12, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  14. TheoldChief

    I have nothing to hide and I know my phone number will not pop on any threat list, so I don't have a problem with it.
    I'm much more concerned with the intrusion from the internet companies who mine and store all of my personal data they can in order to push unwanted solicitation my way. They know much much more about me, AND YOU, than the Government ever will. This is more way Orwellian than this whole made up scandel being pushed by the media and the ACLU.

    June 12, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  15. civilgeek

    This is not wise. There is one institution that specifies what is classified and that is the same institution that would be criminally prosecuting. It is funny how everything now a days is classified. This is police state mentality and is scaring the hell out of me.

    June 12, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    "Anyone foolish enough to believe we have nothing to be concerned about with govt collecting all this data on us, is simply fooling themselves. In bringing this issue to light, Snowden has done a great service for we citizens, and he should be thanked."

    Says the person blogging on the intertubes. Which, by the way, is as public a forum as it gets. The thing is, once your comment has been accepted, CNN owns it. For all of eternity. In other words, Corporate America owns you, your internet database, your credit score, your job, your phone jacks, your car, your homes, your 401Ks and retirement packages. Not much else left for the government to take away. ALL of you willingly allowed Corporate America to do that with your blessing.

    June 12, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  17. stljoe

    Politicians who advocate criminalizing the press should be punished. If New York doesn't allow for recall elections they should. Mr King should be a prime candidate. Then we can more properly align his job description with his talents and we all know somebody needs to cook the french fries.

    June 12, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  18. just sayin

    TheoldChief
    I have nothing to hide and I know my phone number will not pop on any threat list, so I don't have a problem with it.
    ----–

    you better hope and pray that some terrorists doesn't dial you up by mistake! your life will be turned upside down. but that doesn't sound like it would be a problem for you.

    June 12, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  19. OnTheRoad

    Maybe, Rep. Peter King and other congressmen/senators should be punished for allowing this to have been going on!

    June 12, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    just sayin

    TheoldChief
    I have nothing to hide and I know my phone number will not pop on any threat list, so I don't have a problem with it.
    --–

    you better hope and pray that some terrorists doesn't dial you up by mistake! your life will be turned upside down. but that doesn't sound like it would be a problem for you.
    =================

    Your paranoia is amusing.

    June 12, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  21. The REAL Truth...

    @civilgeek – This is not wise. There is one institution that specifies what is classified and that is the same institution that would be criminally prosecuting. It is funny how everything now a days is classified. This is police state mentality and is scaring the hell out of me.
    -------------------------------
    The number of Rip Van Winkles here is astounding!! Where have you people been ?????????
    This has been going on for DECADES.. LITERALLY, and all of a sudden Obama is stomping on the Constitution and the 1st, 2nd and 4th Amendments??
    Get a grip people.. remember Hoover and his little data collection program ??

    Remember FISA, NDAA and the Patriot Act. Whether you like it or not, the "spying" is perfectly legal because Congress made it so. Just because you weren't notifiied via certified USPS delivery that you were being spied on, doesn't give rise to this sudden shock and outrage.

    IF you want to do something about it, call your GOP Federal Representative and demand they repeal the legislation immediately. Oh.. don't hold your breath while waiting for it happen.

    June 12, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  22. Revolution

    America the dumb!

    June 12, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  23. GI Joe

    I knew about FISA in 1978 when it was started. I knew about W listening in to phone calls without a warrant. I knew that Obama and others changed the rules to force a warrant a long time ago, and I know a warrant generally is good for 3 months and has to be renewed thru FISA or it lapses.

    I now know that a new warrant has to be gotten from FISA if a particular person is to be singled out and investigated further.

    I wonder why so many in Congress don't know what a civilian knows? Maybe I read the laws they pass. Maybe I watch C-Span, Maybe I look things up when I hear a "new one" thrown out by either side.

    Maybe I should run for the Senate or House. Hmmmmm - Nah - the red state I live in wouldn't vote for me because I know too much, have too much information. ha ha ha ha

    June 12, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. pot/kettle/black

    Where was this loser back when Scooter Libby leaked a cia operative's name to the "journalist" Robert Novak? Oh wait, he's republican. Nevermind. Only your party commits treason, unemployment, recession, global warming, crime, higher taxes etc. My party is too busy with bake sales and helping unicorns come over the double rainbows. Our government is such a joke! Now I'm on another list....

    June 12, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  25. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    2014 comes quickly for Peter King and the Guns Over People tea potty anklebiters with their hair on fire.

    June 12, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
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