For calling upon the Justice Department to seek criminal sanctions against a newspaper and its staff for disclosing publicly the existence and extent of covert, warrantless surveillance by the National Security Administration, a 2007 Jefferson Muzzle goes to… U. S. Representative Peter King (R., N.Y.)
There can be no serious doubt that current conditions warrant heightened scrutiny of genuine threats to national security, and that the interception of some communications may be warranted to a degree not applicable in more tranquil times. Yet, a procedure presumably existed through which judicial approval for secret warrants could have been sought through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court. There had been no proof that such requests for emergency authority would have been unavailing.
"Announced on or near April 13 — the anniversary of the birth of Thomas Jefferson — the Jefferson Muzzles are awarded as a means to draw national attention to abridgments of free speech and press and, at the same time, foster an appreciation for those tenets of the First Amendment..."
According to Newsday, King's only disappointed he didn't get any actual trophy:
I'll let them handle the factual smackdown:
"If they give me a medal, I’ll wear it," said King, who also said that he’d saved space on his wall for a hanging trophy.
"They’re using my good name to boost their popularity, and they’re too cheap to even give me an award," he complained.
Now for the reality check: Times executive editor Bill Keller wrote in a letter to readers that the decision to publish the story "followed weeks of discussion between Administration officials and The Times", after which the newspaper staff concluded that revealing the program would not endanger its existence.Peter King, never one to let reality get in the way of truthiness. We'll see what we can do about that trophy, Peter.
Keller argued that banks would continue to co-operate if the program was legal and effective, and that the U.S. Treasury Department had already been vocal about its efforts to track terror financing.