Secrecy and Security
Proposal to Punish Newsmen for Defense Leaks
Secrecy in government, long a subject of controversy, continues to provoke heated debate among legislators, public officials, and members of the press. The federal Commission on Government Security raised a storm of criticism recently when it proposed extension of the espionage laws to provide punishment for reporters who willfully divulge information classified as secret. Conversely, the June 3 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in the Jencks case, affirming a defendant's right under certain circumstances to inspect secret documents in the government's possession, has stirred fear that undue disclosure may hamper law enforcement agencies.
Editors are challenging with increased vehemence the federal government's practice of withholding large quantities of information on the ground that disclosure would prejudice ...