Greenwald and reporters for the Washington Post originally broke news last week about secret NSA surveillance programs. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said on Tuesday that they should be prosecuted for doing so. But when asked about that statement on Fox News on Wednesday, the New York Republican said he just wants Greenwald taken down, because, King claimed, Greenwald said will release the names of CIA operatives around the world:
HOST MEGYN KELLY: To take it another step and to say the journalists who published the information, the guys who published what he leaked, that they should face prosecution that is news. Do you believe that? Do you stand by that, both Greenwald and the Washington Post reporter?
KING: Iâ€™m talking about Greenwald. Greenwald, not only did he disclose this information he has said that he has the names of CIA agents and assets around the world and theyâ€™re threatening to disclose that. [...]
KELLY: What is the difference between Glenn Greenwald who broke this story in the Guardian who is an American citizen but heâ€™s living abroad and James Rosen and the Associated Press?
KING: James Rosen never said he was going to release information that was going to kill Americans. He was never going to disclose the names of CIA agents and operatives around the world the way Greenwald is saying he is threatening to do.
While Greenwald has said that he will report on more newsworthy secret information that was allegedly provided to him by a former NSA contractor, he has never said he plans to expose or out any CIA agents. And as this blog has previously noted, there is no known example of a U.S. official prosecuting a journalist for their own reporting or publication of material. Doing so would be an unprecedented expansion of government invasion into the free press, and would prompt an immediate deluge of constitutional challenges as a violation of the First Amendment.