As lawmen, we all had to have confidential sources! I had confidential sources, some of the best, at the time, in the FBI. That’s no secret, and it is well known that we paid our sources…some extremely well, based upon the information they furnished.
How do I know that I had some of the best? For two reasons…FBI Director, J Edgar Hoover, and Assistant Director John Malone told me so, several times. At that time, 50 years ago, I could not tell anyone, and I paid one particular source the second highest lump sum payment in FBI history…that folks is saying something!
We also have a right to keep the identities of those valuable sources secret because their very lives are at stake. Many times, in Federal Court, on the witness stand with some of the best Defense Attorneys beating me up on the stand, trying to identify a source. More than once I ended up “ In–Camera”, with a Federal Judge (alone in his chambers), with him asking why it was so important to protect this source…how do I know his life and the lives of their family members were in danger, and in every single instance, we were able to protect that source.
Protection of “law enforcement sources” is absolutely necessary, if law enforcement is going to solve crimes!
Now let’s turn our attention to the Press…do they have a right to “protect” their sources.
There are opinions on that point by everyone who understands the consequences.
First and foremost, law enforcement cannot break the law to “make” a case. A lawman, could not drive the getaway car for a robbery because the getaway driver was sick and couldn’t go!
Neither can a reporter break the law to write a story. A reporter cannot withhold his knowledge of a crime about to be committed to protect his source… that could be conspiracy to that crime, under certain circumstances, as well as … Misprision of A Felony, and Obstruction. He/she cannot withhold the identity of a source where that source knows the identity of a murder subject and to reveal that name would compromise the identity of his source.
In my opinion, without exception, a so called News Reporter or a Journalist or TV commentator or ANY OTHER person, under any circumstance, should NOT be allowed to flat out destroy any citizen through the reporting of “anonymous” source information of any type.
Allow me to expand;
We have seen and heard over and over lives and reputations destroyed by “anonymous” information mostly by the press and too often by politicians, of all types. That must stop. It goes against everything we live our lives by, our Rule of Law, our Constitution. We pride ourselves by “Due Process” a system where an accused… in any venue, must be allowed to defend themselves…in court, in the newspaper, on TV and in life…by facing their accuser.
Can you defend yourself when the accuser is an anonymous source? I am not talking about a known source by a lawman whose identity may…under certain specific circumstances, be made known to a Federal Judge.
Big difference between the Judge, In-Camera, and divulging anything to the likes of an Adam Schiff or Chuck Schumer!
I am talking about when a known liar, like Adam Schiff, for example, uses an anonymous source and attempts to destroy someone like, for instance, the President of the United States…or someone like former FBI Director James Comey, an admitted liar and leaker, also tries to do the same, destroy a President…all on Anonymous, unverified, unsubstantiated sources, hearsay in the 2nd and 3rd degree?
We must stop what has gone from minor disputes between a News Paper and a Law Enforcement Agency to …Impeachment of a President, without ANY direct evidence…completely unidentifiable sources! All of which violates every law we have…Due Process, the Right to Equal Rights, the Right to Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness…and on and on!
THE HONESTY IN REPORTING LAW…
Any time “anyone”, especially… a Reporter or Politician… as they have the biggest platforms from which to accuse, makes an allegation accusing anyone of anything that could/would damage that person’s reputation… publishes an allegation backed by anonymous source(s) or any unsubstantiated information, then there MUST be recourse. The accuser… reporter, politician, or citizen and their venue… must be punished if their source is anonymous! If their source is anonymous or not produced to the satisfaction of the accused, then the accusers must be held criminally and civilly responsible, for damages. There should not be a need for the victim to file a libel suit, at great expense, if someone committed a Crime…The Honesty in Reporting Act!!!
It follows the Civil Rights Acts, making the denial of civil rights by anyone a crime!
For example, a mandatory 1 year in prison for using anonymous sources, or failure to disclose their source or an apparent phony source or unverifiable information …AND a heavy civil fine to be paid to the victim. I guarantee that will stop the lies.
The Crime… is the use of an anonymous or an unidentifiable source, as the source of the alleged allegation. To protect “the identity” of any accuser, takes a back seat, to destroying someone’s life…without due process, that’s our Law, my opinion!