Video archive of the US Congress

House Proceeding 03-31-09 on Mar 31st, 2009 :: 0:37:05 to 0:43:00
Total video length: 6 hours 3 minutes Stream Tools: Stream Overview | Edit Time

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Lamar S. Smith

0:37:02 to 0:37:22( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: truly bipartisan measure that comes before the house today. madam speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas. mr. smith: madam speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. smith: madam speaker, the united states has enjoyed a free press for over 200 years

Lamar S. Smith

0:37:05 to 0:43:00( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Lamar S. Smith

Lamar S. Smith

0:37:23 to 0:37:46( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: because it is guaranteed to us in the constitution. our founders understood that a free press protects and perpetuates our demoacy. there has been no federal media shield law to protect journalist's sources because there is no evidence of a need. no more than 17 journalists

Lamar S. Smith

0:37:47 to 0:38:07( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: during the past 25 years have been sent to jail. they were not singled out by punishment. every american called to testify before a grand jury must cooperate or face the very same consequence. nor is there any evidence that potential sources have withheld critical information from reporters because of a fear of

Lamar S. Smith

0:38:08 to 0:38:28( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: being identified. just look at the scandals that are regularly uncovered from watergate to the recent mistreatment of soldiers at walter reid medical center. in the 37 years since the supreme court ling that the first amendment does not shield a reporter from testifying in a grand jury proceedingsing, the

Lamar S. Smith

0:38:29 to 0:38:49( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: media had no -- proceeding, the media had no problem uncovering corruption and injustice. unfortunately, this bill raises serious law enforcement and national security concerns. however well-intentioned, h.r. 985 will promize the work of the justice department -- compromise the work of the justice department and other

Lamar S. Smith

0:38:50 to 0:39:11( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: agencies that deals with crime fighting and national security matters. the bill we're considering today creates a pressed privilege under which courts cannot compel reporters to provide information they need to fight crime. protecting anonymous sources should never be more important than protecting the american people or solving crimes that can save lives.

Lamar S. Smith

0:39:12 to 0:39:36( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: while confidentiality is vital to the work of a reporter, national security is essential to the preservation of a free nation. for example, t exception to the privilege in this bill to prevent a terrorist attack orem nent bodily harm will not help -- or imminent bodily harm

Lamar S. Smith

0:39:37 to 0:39:57( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: will not help in helping them. identifying a source on september, 2001, to prevent the terrorist attacks but could not have acquired that same information on september 12, to track down the terrorists. similarly, officials could acquire information regarding a

Lamar S. Smith

0:39:58 to 0:40:18( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: reporter's source to prevent the molestation of a child but they could not get that same information to bring a sexual predator to justice after the asexual assault. and concerning classified information leaks, former attorney general michael mukasey wrote in an editorial following the house vote in 2007, quote, leaking classified

Lamar S. Smith

0:40:19 to 0:40:39( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: information is itself a crime, but in order for the government to get source information from a journalist in a leak investigation it must show that the leak caused significant harm to national security, that the information was properly classified and the person who leaked it was authorized to

Lamar S. Smith

0:40:40 to 0:41:05( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: have it. thus, a would-be leaker of classified information could simply give it to someone not authorized to have it, urge that person to leak it and thereby prevent the government from investigating the crime. this bill effectively cripples the government's ability to identify and frrt leakers of

Lamar S. Smith

0:41:07 to 0:41:28( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: classified information -- leakers of classified information. and look at the range of crimes where a reporter would be able to hide his source. corporate and financial crimes, very relevant these days. human trafficking, gun and drug trafficking, gang activity and other criminal activity that

Lamar S. Smith

0:41:29 to 0:41:49( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: might not result in a direct risk of imminent death or significant bodily harm, even though we have a strong interest in preventing such crimes. h.r. 985 creates a privilege that allows reporters to avoid a civic duty. the bill goes beyond promoting a free press. it confers on the press a

Lamar S. Smith

0:41:50 to 0:42:11( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: privileged position. it exempts journalists from the same responsibilities that all others have in a criminal investigation. this new privilege has no precedent in american legal history. this bill is not about protecting the public's right to know about corruption or malfeasance that already exists.

Lamar S. Smith

0:42:12 to 0:42:33( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: it's about giving a reporter a special privilege at the expense of our national crime-fighting efforts. to quote a high-ranking official from the office of national security during last congress, the media shield bill, quotes, make it very di laws involving the unauthorized disclosure of classified

Lamar S. Smith

0:42:34 to 0:42:54( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: information and could seriously impede other national curity investigations and prosecutions including terrorism prosecutions, end quote. as a former report, i sympathized with journalists not wanting to reveal their sources. but as a member of congress, i have a responsibility to see that law enforcement and intelligence officials who keep

Lamar S. Smith

0:42:55 to 0:43:00( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: us safe can do their jobs. this bill creates serious law enforcement and national

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