Rep. Peter King (R-NY) took a hardline Tuesday in the debate over intelligence leaks, arguing that journalists who report on classified information like the recently revealed National Security Agency surveillance programs should be punished.
The New York Republican was asked by CNN’s Anderson Cooper if journalists, along with the source of the leaks, should also be punished.
“Actually, if they willingly knew that this was classified information, I think action should be taken, especially on something of this magnitude,” King said. “I know that the whole issue of leaks has been gone into over the last month. I think something on this magnitude, there is an obligation, both moral but also legal, I believe, against a reporter disclosing something which would so severely compromise national security. As a practical matter, I guess it happened in the past several years, a number of reporters who have been prosecuted under it, so the answer is yes to your question.”
The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, who reported on the NSA programs, reacted to King’s comments over Twitter with shock:
Is is true, as I was just told, that Peter King on CNN called for criminal prosecution of journalists reporting the NSA stories?
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) June 12, 2013