Media Leak? First Amendment Ingrained In U.S. Psyche

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s there something particularly American about leaking? Some national allergy to protecting government secrets?

Yes, in fact, there is. And whether you denounce that as a dangerous trait or accept it as an underpinning of democracy, it is unlikely to change, according to a range of former officials and students of government secrecy.

“To sum up what distinguishes the United States in a nutshell: It’s the First Amendment,” said Steven Aftergood, the director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists. “The concept of a free press has been integral to the American idea since its inception. That’s not true even of other democracies. The press here even has the right to be irresponsible, which it sometimes is.”

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