The Corner

The NSA Leak

I’m in the process of reviewing Gabriel Schoenfeld’s forthcoming book Necessary Secrets: National Security, the Media and the Rule of Law for dead-tree National Review. It is an important book on the difficult issues presented by going after leakers of classified information and, just as importantly, the newspapers who profit by knowingly publishing the leaked information. Prosecutors always have to balance the dangers of disclosing more information in the criminal process and raising the profile of the leaked information, on one hand, with the need to protect national security information. Throw into the mix the First Amendment rights for which most reporters are willing to go to jail, and you’ve got a difficult problem. It will be interesting to see how the Drake prosecution will play out. But for a marvelous read of the history of leaks and the government’s attempts to grapple with them, check out Schoenfeld’s book when it comes out. 

Shannen W. Coffin is a contributing editor to National Review. He practices appellate law in Washington, D.C.

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