Editor and Publisher has a transcript up of a partial interview with Len Downie, executive editor at The Washington Post for many years. The interviewer is Lowell Bergman. The transcript is part of a 4 part “Frontline” series running on PBS on the media.
Q. Do you worry about [reporter] Dana Priest being subpoenaed, maybe going to jail?
Yes. She worries about that a lot. She worries about some of her sources going to jail or being subpoenaed or being criminally prosecuted for providing information the public should have. … I worry about Dana Priest and a number of our other reporters who are potential targets of either government subpoenas or civil suit subpoenas. Where people are going to demand that they reveal confidential sources which they’re not going to do. And I worry that the ultimate end of that will be that somebody will have to go to jail. That worries me a lot.
Q. In my 37 years in the business, I don’t remember anything like this going on before. … There’s apparently a couple of squads of FBI agents at the Washington field office; that’s all they’re doing, looking for leaks.
Right. I can’t remember a precedent for this either. …
Q. Today I talked with a source of mine, who said he just got polygraphed.
Yeah, that’s going on all around town. There’re investigations of sources going on all around town, and it’s very, very worrying. It’s not good. It’s not good for the free flow of information to the public, and it’s not good to criminalize sources and reporters who are merely engaged in trying to keep the American public properly informed.
Its a very interesting and informative read, I don’t want to post all of it, so check it out if you have a few minutes.
This administration seems to try harder than all other administrations before it, to keep information from the public since the FOIA was enacted. The main role of the media is to inform and maintain a certain amount of transparency in our govt..imho. The FOIA, or Freedom of Information Act, is an important tool that the media uses to gather information that is pertinent to current issues or events. Our current administration has secret-ized more information than any other, thus making it even harder for the media to provide us with information which allows us to make an informed decision on many issues or events. Bush’s administration is now systematically polygraphing more and more government employees to determine who is leaking information.
But, it was ok to leak the name of a CIA operative and no one gets charged or complains(on the right anyway)..an illegal wiretapping scheme by the federal government..not so much.