June 11th, 2013
10:58 PM ET
10 years 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."

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soundoff (260 Responses)
  1. saywhat

    I'm somewhat surprised that fellow bloggers are taking involvement of Israeli companies in the Prism affair lightly, not a single comment on the Israeli newspaper Haaretz report on this disclosure.
    Are we that uncaring of who does & what to us??

    June 12, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  2. TheoldChief

    I don't think I would ever know if a terrorist dialed me up by mistake. I did 22+ years in the military with a very high level clearance, and still work as a contractor with a clearance. For them to determine it was a mistake would probably take all of about 30 seconds. so as I said, i have nothing to hide and am not worried in the least.

    June 12, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  3. just sayin

    just sayin
    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.

    right.... because it is totally preposterous that the us government would track and record every single phone call in the usa and keep it all for years in order to do a historical seach. ooops... they just admitted doing that. your clueless is even more amusing.

    June 12, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  4. NameLindaHardge

    When terrorists attack inside a US city and thousands are killed then and only then will Americans stop complaining about invasion of privacy and leaking classified information that put US operatives and our country at risk. Actions such as this give terrorist the bomb away go ahead. Evidently everyone forgot 911. When it occurs in your family let me know how you feel. In the mean time stop complaining about the actions of the government that keep us safe. Bush got it right.

    June 12, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  5. Tony

    I need to go to a shrink to check myself out because i agree with this guy,but i still cannot stand this joker.

    June 12, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  6. Tony

    This leaker should be hanged publicly, along with the journalist who report these leaks. We have too much freedom of this, and freedom of that, hang them high.

    June 12, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  7. spike

    The accusers are the traitors. You want real treason. How about the fact that they sent weapons and financial aid to al quida in Libya. How about them sending billions in military aid to the muslim brotherhood in Egypt, who's stated goal is the destruction of America. And just wait, very soon they will vote to send military aid and finacial aid to the al quida rebels trying to overthrow Syria. Snowden – treason? Who the hell do they think they are kidding. All americans should insist these real traitors be tried and hung.

    June 12, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  8. Jason

    I'm not worried about running afoul of the government, but I also care about my rights. Throw them away and we might as well not be living in America. Are there risks to living free? Sure. If you don't like it you have plenty of other options. If you want o be free, then suck it up and act like it. Everything else is unworthy of American citizenship.

    June 12, 2013 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  9. David

    We do not elect the brightest of our country to hold political office. King is just one of many from both parties that have no idea what they are doing or saying. Hopefully the people in his home state will find someone better suited for political office . Our freedom is in danger, we are being lied to by our government , the american government is spying on it's own people, the IRS is punishing those that disagree with big government and he wants the people that exposed this to be jailed?

    June 13, 2013 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  10. Americanmexphil

    So you've give them all the information they need.. How many guns you have, how much ammo you have. When they decide you have no need for those weapons or ammo you'll just hand them over because they trust you enough for you to trust them that it's for the safety of our country. I've heard of people with your status that have a cache of weapons and ammo hid far away from themselves. I think you should talk to some of your friends and see what they think about it. And please don't call them or text them or e-mail them, They might not be as smart as you. OK! just kidding they aren't as stupid as you. Sorry for the name calling. But I really do thank you for your 22 years of service. With all due respects. Talk to some of your old friends. Because I really don't think your ready for what's coming. Take Care

    June 13, 2013 05:12 am at 5:12 am |
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