Return of anti-leak bill has govt communicators, press concerned

WASHINGTON: Government spokespeople and journalists were relieved

last November when President Clinton vetoed a bill that would have made

it a federal crime to leak "properly classified" information. But now it

is making a comeback.

When the provision was tacked onto a November intelligence authorization

bill, Defense Department spokesman Ken Bacon led a vocal campaign

against it. His concern was that government communicators would be in

danger of unintentionally committing a federal crime, as information is

too easily classified "top-secret," and spokespeople often are


Media groups were concerned that potential whistleblowers would be

deterred from exposing government corruption to reporters for fear of


Journalists also feared being subpoenaed as part of government attempts

to ferret out leaks.

CNN, The Washington Post, the National Newspaper Association, and The

New York Times are now asking the Senate to delay a proposed hearing on

the provision this week, again tucked into an intelligence authorization

bill, while they devise a common proposal to protect classified


Bacon's replacement, Torie Clarke, told PRWeek she was undecided whether

she would take a position.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in