Segments in this Video

National Security and Press Freedom: Overview (04:05)


This episode will cover the First Amendment, leaks, and other issues related to national security and the freedom of the press. Fred Friendly and retired Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart discuss the conditions under which the Framers of the Constitution drafted the Bill of Rights.

Does the Public Have a Right to Know? (03:40)

Moderator Benno Schmidt describes a scenario in which the Central Intelligence Agency has decided to covertly train rebels in Sierra Madre. CIA Director James Schlesinger, Stewart, and other panelists discuss the need for secrecy vs. the public’s right to know about the operation.

Media and the Frequency of Leaks (11:38)

Between the presence of the media and a breakdown of discipline within the Executive Branch, it has become increasingly difficult to keep covert operations secret. Judge Griffin Bell, ABC News Correspondent Brit Hume and other panelists examine motivations for leaks, and the ethics and legal liability of receiving stolen and/or top-secret documents.

First Amendment and Legal Liability (07:50)

The First Amendment guarantees freedom of the press, but it provides no protection from the commission of crimes related to Schmidt’s leak. Federal Bureau of Investigations Director William Webster, Judge Frank McGarr and other panelists debate the ethics of breaking the law in the interest of reportage and who owns government information.

Verifying Information, Protecting Sources (07:53)

Panel members consider the process of verifying leaked information, protecting sources, and how the government might try to kill the story. When would a reporter seek comment from the director of the CIA?

Deciding to Publish, Prior Restraint (13:51)

Journalists Jack Nelson and Howard Simons and other panelists debate whether members of the media should consider national security interests and potential consequences when deciding whether to publish. Does the government have legal remedies to delay or prevent publication?

Should Journalists Risk Imprisonment? (03:30)

A judge ordered members of the media to delay publication. Panelists debate the merits of obeying the law versus going to print and facing legal consequences. Stewart alludes to the Supreme Court’s landmark 1931 ruling in Near v. Minnesota.

Near v. Minnesota Explained (02:35)

Friendly and Stewart elaborate on the legal precedent established by Near v. Minnesota. Is the Supreme Court’s finding outdated in the context of today’s nuclear weapons and instant communication?

Credits: National Security and Freedom of the Press (01:36)

Credits: National Security and Freedom of the Press

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National Security and Freedom of the Press

Part of the Series : Constitution: That Delicate Balance
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



What right does the public have to know about national security issues? Former CIA director and secretary of defense James Schlesinger, former attorney general Griffin Bell and others debate the issue.

Length: 58 minutes

Item#: BVL160417

Copyright date: ©1984

Closed Captioned

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