If it was unlawful, they are whistleblowers

· dKo journal, Edgewise, Paleoblogs

Inquiry Into Wiretapping Article Widens NYT
“…a rapidly expanding criminal investigation into…a New York Times article…that disclosed the existence of a highly classified domestic eavesdropping program…”
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DKo: I have no legal expertise, but this is my instinctive lay-person’s reaction:
If the NSA eavesdropping was unlawful, or even if it’s lawfulness was so seriously questionable as to require a legislative/judicial review, or if the secrecy surrounding it was illicit, then the leakers and reporters involved were whistleblowers, and are entitled to the standard legal protections due to whistleblowers.
(And the rewards: If the program is halted, or if the spending on it was unlawful at the time–prior to some future enabling legislation–then they should be paid a percentage of the spending, the standard whistleblower’s reward.)
If they do face punishment, that may give them legal “standing” to compel judicial review of the program’s legality in their trials, independently of congress. But if congress proceeds with investigations or even considers remedial legislation, without invoking protection for the people who showed the courage to bring it to their attention, it will be sickening cravenness.