Monday, March 13, 2006

Latest GOP Bill would send me to prison for 15 years ...

Fifteen years. Hmm. That might dissuade me from blogging or speculating about Bush's monitoring programs:
Reporters Exempt From Eavesdropping Bill

Reporters who write about government surveillance could be prosecuted under proposed legislation that would solidify the administration's eavesdropping authority, according to some legal analysts who are concerned about dramatic changes in U.S. law.

But an aide to the bill's chief author, Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, said that is not the intention of the legislation.

"It in no way applies to reporters _ in any way, shape or form," said Mike Dawson, a senior policy adviser to DeWine, responding to an inquiry Friday afternoon. "If a technical fix is necessary, it will be made."

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the draft of the legislation, which could be introduced as soon as next week.

The draft would add to the criminal penalties for anyone who "intentionally discloses information identifying or describing" the Bush administration's terrorist surveillance program or any other eavesdropping program conducted under a 1978 surveillance law.

Under the boosted penalties, those found guilty could face fines of up to $1 million, 15 years in jail or both.
The WaPo article's headline actually contradicts the article's text. It's a bad headline, but what's clear is that non-journalists would probably be guilty if they promulgated or discussed the GOP's surveillance programs. I wonder if what I've written or speculated would qualify for jail time under such a law.

Were such a law to come to pass, I most certainly would not be talking about such programs on this blog, or in any other forum. I wonder what a council of the wise would say? Is "it" "happening here"? Perhaps the ACLU ought to launch an alternative form of 'doomsday clock' that would measure how close we are the 'tipping point'.

note: I fixed up a few links and revised wording after the initial publication.

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