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Bush aides would recommend veto on media shield

Bush aides would recommend veto on media shield

President George W. Bush's top advisers would recommend he veto a Senate bill to protect reporters from having to reveal their sources, Attorney General Michael Mukasey and National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell said Friday.
In a letter to Senate Democrats, Mukasey and McConnell reiterated their positions that a media shield law could harm national security and encourage more leaks of classified information.
The "Free Flow of Information Act," proposed by Republican Sen. Arlen Specter, did not come up for a vote before lawmakers adjourned for the two presidential conventions. Mukasey, McConnell, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Defense Secretary Robert Gates oppose the bill.
Supporters argue that confidentiality has been crucial to reporters' pursuit of important stories, and a recent flurry of attempts to compel reporters to divulge their sources' identities is proof the legislation is needed.
Though the shield legislation proposed in the Senate would not cover reporters who revealed classified information, Mukasey and McConnell said that is insufficient because it requires the government to jump through too many procedural hoops to investigate leaks.
The Bush administration's anti-terror policies have been dogged by leaks. Newspapers reported that authorities were listening to Americans' phone calls and reading e-mails without warrants and revealed that the CIA was using prisons to hold terror suspects on foreign soil.
The administration also has been accused of selectively leaking. Bush's former top political adviser, Karl Rove, was among those who leaked CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity. The leaks occurred after Plame's husband publicly accused the administration of twisting prewar intelligence to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.
A similar measure overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives in October.


Updated : 2021-02-27 05:07 GMT+08:00