With freedom comes responsibility (Rep. Paul C. Broun)

I understand that it is an absolute necessity to share intelligence with our allies, allowing access to information that can thwart attempted attacks on the United States.  However, the sheer volume of documents acquired by Wikileaks speaks to the fact this was not an exercise in intelligence sharing.  This was either a complete failure of individuals at the State Department to protect sensitive information, or a calculated attempt to subvert the diplomatic efforts of the United States.

In addition to seeking answers from the State Department regarding possible oversights, we should also be questioning the media’s roles in the publication of sensitive information.  When a similar situation arose with the Pentagon, the Department of Defense requested the Times to refrain, but they failed to adhere to their requests and published the information.  In this instance, the New York Times and other media outlets once again chose to publish more classified information instead of protecting the security of our nation.  While most have rushed to condemn WikiLeaks, this event begs the question: what is the media’s responsibility in this damaging episode?  If an individual obtained classified information and leaked it to WikiLeaks, who turned around and leaked it to the media, shouldn’t the media share some of the blame and condemnation?   The media plays a vital role, providing information as a watchdog for the American people.  However, with their freedom, is there no responsibility?  The First Amendment secures the essential freedom of press.  It would be harmful to our nation’s freedom for the government to suppress the press.  However, I would urge the media not to take advantage of their freedom and place more consideration before publishing information that undermines our national security.  In addition, I charge the American people to hold the media accountable, similar to the way the media holds public officials accountable, for the content they chose to publish.

Once we determine all who are responsible, it is imperative that each and every participant be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law and should receive the highest punishment reserved for treason.