Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says the Bush administration may prosecute New York Times reporters who wrote about the NSA’s spying on Americans, which means Bush can break the law by ordering the spying but he wants to prosecute reporters who caught him breaking the law.
Reports Walter Pincus in The Washington Post:
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales raised the possibility yesterday that New York Times journalists could be prosecuted for publishing classified information based on the outcome of the criminal investigation underway into leaks to the Times of data about the National Security Agency’s surveillance of terrorist-related calls between the United States and abroad.
"We are engaged now in an investigation about what would be the appropriate course of action in that particular case, so I’m not going to talk about it specifically," he said on ABC’s "This Week."
In December, the Times broke a story about the secret program.
On the talk show, when asked if journalists could be prosecuted for publishing classified information, Gonzales responded, "There are some statutes on the book which, if you read the language carefully, would seem to indicate that that is a possibility."
He was referring to the 1917 Espionage Act, which made it a crime for an unauthorized person to receive national defense information and transmit it to others.