Aug 4 2005 - 8:32pm
From Knight Ridder this evening:
U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty said the men were attempting to influence U.S. foreign policy. He said trafficking in information is commonplace in the nation's capital but a "clear line separates classified information from everything else."
"Today's charges are about crossing that clear line," McNulty said.
(There are also charges of communicating such information to foreign officials, but the press release on the indictment issued by the U.S. Attorney specifically mentions "unlawful communication, delivery and transmission to persons not entitled to receive it, including members of the media.") . . .
There seems to be no evidence that money changed hands, or that there was any intention to damage U.S. interests. Franklin is simply charged with giving classified information to those without security clearances, in pursuit of a political agenda.
So it turns out that the Espionage Act isn't a dead letter after all, and that it can be used to prosecute non-commercial, non-hostile revelations of sensitive information to the press, as opposed to giving secrets to hostile foreign powers.
I wonder how well they'll be able to spin that.