By DANIELLE COHEN
Reporters are responsible for making information and news accessible. Sometimes, the information that may be newsworthy might not be safe to share as public knowledge.
A prime example of reporters leaking information that is not safe to share has happened recently and has put our country’s security as risk.
There was a report made by the McClatchy DC news service Washington bureau chief about how “odd” a story was on the front-page of The New York Times.
James Asher, the Washington bureau chief for McClatchy, made this statement in regards to a leak that took place in the beginning of August regarding the closing of 19 embassies that stirred media chaos.
McClatchy at the time supported publishing the details, which included intercepted communication between the Al Qaeda Leader Ayman al Zawahiri and Yemen AQAP head Nasir al Wuhayshi.
Other sources, such as The New York Times, decided it would be beneficial to hold back publishing this information and honor the government’s request. The Times did report communication involving “senior operatives of Al Qaeda,” but did not release any identities.
The evening of the release of The Times story , a Yemen expert explained “that an August leak regarding an Al Qaeda plot undermined U.S. intelligence gathering as — laughable.”
Now that it is about two months later, U.S officials who request anonymity told The Times that the leak promoted terrorists to change their methods of communication.
There are reports that this news leak damaged national security.
The Huffington Post stated that the U.S. government never raised concerns following the story released on Aug. 4 and that “multiple sources inside and outside of the Yemeni government confirmed our reporting and not one of them told us not to publish the facts.”
Gregory Johnsen, a Yemen expert and author of a book on al Qaida in Yemen, made the point that the U.S. publicly closed 19 embassies and that the facts about Wuhayshi and Zawhiri were known in Yemen. The point she made was once the government leaks something, the information is hard to control.
We are unsure if our government is investigating the source of these leaks. We do know that the FBI and the office of the director of National Intelligence refused to speak about the subject. The Times also did not contribute and did not contact McClatchy for information.