WASHINGTON, May 26 (UPI) -- At a hearing in Washington Friday, some members of the House Intelligence Committee advocated prosecuting reporters who receive classified information.
Their major target was The New York Times, for its stories on the National Security Agency surveillance program, the Times reported. Washington Post stories about secret prisons for enemy combatant detainees were also criticized.
"I believe the attorney general and the president should use all of the power of existing law to bring criminal charges," said Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz.
Committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., stopped short of calling for prosecution, although he said the press "is not above the law."
Ranking member Jane Harman, D-Calif., said any legislators advocating jailing reporters should visit North Korea, China or Cuba. She said the Bush administration and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales hide too much information from the public.
Harman said she is especially concerned about the prosecution of two employees of an Israeli lobbying group for receiving classified information. She argued that newspaper readers discussing a story based on classified documents could be prosecuted under the same theory.