Sam Lebovic has recently published an article in Politico titled "The Forgotten 1957 Trial That Explains Our Country’s Bizarre Whistleblower Laws." In the article Lebovic recounts the trial of Colonel John C. Nickerson, the first "the first American to be prosecuted for leaking top-secret national security information to the press," and the implications of that trial for the freedom of the press and of the right to information:
Nickerson’s leak, in short, was of a kind common in American politics. But the crude power of the Espionage Act — the harshness of its penalties, and its sprawling reach — handles such ambiguity poorly. It gives the state the power to severely punish politically undesirable leakers, like Snowden, and to pardon friendlier figures. The system does a poor job of protecting national security secrets, but an excellent job of politically managing the flow of information to the public.
March 29, 2016