U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) suggested CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday that reporters should be prosecuted for “willingly” publishing classified information.
King’s comments came after a slew of leaks from 29-year-old former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who revealed new information about the scope of the NSA’s surveillance programs.
King said that he believed Snowden to be a “traitor,” agreeing with other lawmakers’ suggestions over the past two days. Cooper then asked King if he thought reporters who published the information should face consequences.
“If they willingly knew that this was classified information, I think actions should be taken, especially something of this magnitude,” King said.
“On something of this magnitude, there is an obligation both moral but also legal, I believe, against a reporter disclosing something that would so severely compromise national security.”
Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who has broken multiple stories from Snowden’s leaks, reacted with bewilderment:
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
The Obama administration found itself embroiled in controversy last month, when an FBI search warrant into a leak investigation signed off on by Attorney General Eric Holder labelled Fox News reporter James Rosen a “co-conspirator.” Rosen, however, was never charged.
Watch the clip below, via CNN:
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