Video archive of the US Congress

House Proceeding 03-31-09 on Mar 31st, 2009 :: 1:07:40 to 1:12:10
Total video length: 6 hours 3 minutes Stream Tools: Stream Overview | Edit Time

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Lamar S. Smith

1:07:36 to 1:07:58( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: united states and very grateful for the protections of the first amendment, i strongly urge my colleagues to support this important legislation. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas. mr. smith: madam speaker, i yield myself the balance of the time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. smith: madam saker,

Lamar S. Smith

1:07:40 to 1:12:10( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Lamar S. Smith

Lamar S. Smith

1:07:59 to 1:08:19( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: in the absence of a problem. and here there is no problem. the supreme court ruled in 1972 that no reporter's privileges found in the -- is found in the constitution or in the common law. in the past 37 years, thousands of stories about malfeasance and scaldals have been reported by local, national and international news outlets in the united states.

Lamar S. Smith

1:08:20 to 1:08:40( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: these -- scandals have been reported by local, national and international news outlets in the united states. the premise of h.r. 985 is contradicted by the facts. these stories were written despite no federal shield bill. in fact, let's examine a real world example illustrating how

Lamar S. Smith

1:08:41 to 1:09:02( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: the media might use this privilege. supporters of h.r. 985 often cite the so-called balco case as a justification for the bill. but what really happened? balco was an organization involved in the illegal distribution of steroids to professional athletes. reporters for the "s francisco chronicle" wrote more

Lamar S. Smith

1:09:03 to 1:09:24( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: than 100 stories on the case without benefit of illegally leaked grand jury testimony. but an attorney for one of the defendants eventually leaked testimony which the reporters used in other stories. during an investigation the lawyers state -- lawyer stated under oath that he had not leaked the information. in fact, he claimed the government leaked it thereby

Lamar S. Smith

1:09:25 to 1:09:45( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: creating a pretext for him to request that the court dismiss the case against his client. he was eventually exposed and prosecuted. nothing was done to the reporters who refused to identify their source. in other words, the balco reporters used illegally leaked information they didn't need to report on e case.

Lamar S. Smith

1:09:46 to 1:10:06( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: all the while protecting a disrep purgered himself before a federal course. yet, this is cited to protect reporters and the public's right to know. but what happened in balco pales in comparison to what may happen to crime fighting and

Lamar S. Smith

1:10:07 to 1:10:28( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: national security if this bill becomes law. the justice department has developeinternal guidelines that govern how they interact with reporters during investigations. for example, these guidelines require u.s. attorneys to obtain information through alternative sources when possible. but the biggest difference between the guidelines and the

Lamar S. Smith

1:10:29 to 1:10:50( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: bill is that the guidelines are administered flexiblely. in t age of terrorism when information is indispensible to crime fighting, u.s. attorneys should not have to spend time saving the multipart test of h.r. 985. the entire structure of the bill inflexably requires d.o.j. to meet certain threshold requirements before they can

Lamar S. Smith

1:10:51 to 1:11:13( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: require exceptions in the bill to provide greater access to such information are limited and do not cover a wide range of federal criminal investigations. and the prospect of nature of some of the exceptions to prevent a terrorist attack orem nent bodily harm will -- or eminent bodily harm will not

Lamar S. Smith

1:11:14 to 1:11:34( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: help after an attack has occurred. we've seen time and time again where rushing legislation through without a hearing has led to unintended consequences. regarding this bill, we still haven't heard what the attorney general or what the director of national intelligence thinks about it. we do know that in the last

Lamar S. Smith

1:11:35 to 1:11:56( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: administration all these individuals opposed it. today, only 20 minutes are allowed in opposition to this bill. yet it might well lead to heinous crimes that could have been prevented or solved. terrorism hasn't gone away since the election, neither has domestic crime. the primary function of government is to protect

Lamar S. Smith

1:11:57 to 1:12:10( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar S. Smith: people, and this bill greatly complicates the ability of the government to prevent and solve crimes. the press doesn't need h.r. 985 to do its job, and the public can't afford to have the government make it easier for

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