House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King isn’t backtracking on his suggestion that Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who first broke the NSA snooping story, should be subject to criminal prosecution. Fox News’ Megyn Kelly pressed King on the topic this afternoon, one day after the New York Republican broadly suggested that journalists should be punished for exposing classified information. Here was King’s response:
“I’m talking about Greenwald. Greenwald, not only did he disclose this information, he has said he has names of CIA agents and assets around the world and they’re threatening to disclose that. The last time that was done we saw the murder of a station chief in Greece. No right is absolute. And even the press has certain restrictions. I think it should be very targeted, very selective, and certainly a very rare exception, but in this case, when you have someone who has disclosed secrets like this and threatens to release more, then to me, yes, there has to be, there should be legal action taken against him. This is a very unusual case with life and death implications for Americans.”
It’s unclear what King is referring to when he claims Greenwald has said he’s looking to name names within the CIA. Greenwald says he never made such a threat, a position that aligns with most people’s memories, including mine. (Both the Guardian and the Washington Post held back several of the PRISM PowerPoint slides, you’ll remember.) Setting that aside for now, King went one step further during the interview, suggesting that Greenwald has already done enough to open the door for potential prosecution. Asked by Kelly if he thought Greenwald should be prosecuted for what he’s reported “so far,” King responded: “It should certainly be considered. The reason I say that is because it’s clearly putting American lives at risk.”
Greenwald is an American citizen, who writes for a British newspaper and spends most of his time in Brazil.