By: Todd Shields
Shelby Faults ‘Hysterical … Media Blitz’
WASHINGTON – Citing a “hysterical, largely inaccurate, but
extremely well-timed media blitz,” U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-
Ala., took to the Senate floor to abandon his proposal to
criminalize leaks of federal secrets. The measure passed both
houses of Congress, but was vetoed by President Clinton following
an outcry by media groups.
Free speech advocates said the measure would chill the flow of
information about government and invite subpoenas of reporters as
prosecutors tried to find leakers. Shelby last Tuesday dismissed
their objections, saying the legislation was not aimed at
journalists and was meant only to enhance protection of sensitive
Shelby’s remarks signal the measure’s final defeat for this year.
He did not indicate whether he would try again after a new
Congress convenes in January.
Todd Shields (email@example.com) is the Washington editor for E&P.
Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher.