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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A 1971 heist sheds light on Snowden dilemma for media -- By Christopher Harper, The Washington Times

As President Obama prepares to change the way the U.S. gathers intelligence, he faces another difficult issue: What exactly should he do with Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who revealed the extent of the spying in the first place?

At least two major media organizations have expressed their viewpoints. The New York Times and London's The Guardian, where journalist Glenn Greenwald revealed the secrets Mr. Snowden had stolen, called upon Mr. Obama to grant clemency to the whistleblower, who's now living in Russia. So far, the White House has rejected the call.

"Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service," The Times wrote in an editorial. The Guardian wrote that Mr. Snowden "gave classified information to journalists, even though he knew the likely consequences. That was an act of courage."

But is it acceptable for someone to steal classified material for the greater good? Simply put, do the ends justify the means?

Only this past week did the secrets of another theft of government documents — taken in 1971 — come to light. Ironically, the story is not unlike that of Mr. Snowden, except he made his name known while the 1971 thieves of FBI documents from an office in Media, Pa., kept their names a secret until now — years after the statute of limitations had expired and they were safe from prosecution. Moreover, the incident occurred a few months before the delivery of what became known as the Pentagon Papers, stolen by Rand Corp. analyst Daniel Ellsberg, to The New York Times about the Vietnam War.

Betty Medsger, a former reporter for The Washington Post, revealed the story of the FBI theft, which is part of a new book and a documentary.

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