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House Debates Resolution Smacking Press

At press time, the House was debating whether to adopt a Republican-backed resolution that would spank sources and the media for leaks and publishing of classified information as well as express support for Bush administration efforts to covertly tracking terrorists.

Kansas Republican Todd Tiahrt said that such leaks make "our intelligence community appear incompetent."

The resolution was prompted by the New York Times publishing of details of a program to track terrorist bank records. "Reporters should not be sacrosanct," said New York Republican Peter King.

Democrats were trying to offer their own resolution, blocked by the majority, that also supported  tracking terrorism, but without condemning the media and praising the Bush anti-terrorism effort.

John Dingell (D-Mich.) said the resolution was "conceived in sin," sprung on the body without notice or discussion, and was a "baldfaced attempt to strangle criticism of the administration and gag and intimidate the press."

Rep. Arthur Davis (D-Ala.) said that Congress wasn't doing a sufficient job of oversight of the Bush administration anti-terrorism policy, which is why the press needs to be free to do so.
Rep. Ed Markey said it was an attempt to shoot the messenger. He also says that the resolution contains statements of support for the anti-terrorism program that can't be verified and that haven't been vetted or debated.

Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) said that Cognress had abdicated oversight responsibility and now wants to intimidate the press for filling the breach.