Monday, June 24, 2013

Should the reporter who received information from Snowden be thrown in jail?

The US government does not seem interested in arresting the journalist who revealed the secrets that Snowden told him.  In fact, it would probably be against the law for the government to do this.  The journalist is protected by the "1st Amendment" of the US Constitution.

When the Constitution (the laws by which the US government were going to work) was written and approved in 1789, 10 "amendments" (added points) were made to the document.  These 10 amendments were added to protect the basic rights of American citizens.

The 1st Amendment, basically, says that the government may not stop a person from 1) worshipping whatever religion he/she wants to worship,  2) expressing him/herself freely (within reasonable limits) and 3) meeting other people to discuss issues or to protest the government.

Nevertheless, a TV interviewer asked the journalist whether he (the journalist) felt he had helped Snowden to harm the US government by revealing illegally obtained secrets.

The article:

Here is a video of the verbal exchange:

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

to be charged with a crime - to be formally accused of a crime and forced to come to court to face justice.

Meet the Press - a famous Sunday morning TV show in the USA.

to aid and abet - to help someone commit a crime. Notice: 'commit' is the verb you use with any type of crime: he committed suicide, he committed murder, he committed arson (burning a building down)

to muse about - to think about.

a felony - a major crime.  a misdemeanor - a minor crime.

to disclose - to reveal, to expose, to show

surveillance - to watch someone

anti - against, pro - for

asylum - an innocent person who can be harmed by his own government can seek asylum (safety) in another country.

to decline to do something - to refuse; he would not discuss that issue on the TV show.

to prompt - to motivate, to encourage

to embrace - in this case it means to accept.

to criminalize journalism - to make it a crime to report the news

to leak information - to secretly reveal it.

co-conspirator - someone working on an illegal activity with another person

sources - people who reveal information to journalists.

climate - that atmosphere

to menace - to frighten, to scare someone

contending - arguing

to be prosecuted - to be arrested and put on trial before a judge or jury

Even though this journalist cannot be thrown in jail because he is protected by the 1st Amendment, do you think he should have revealed information he knew to be obtained illegally?

Why do you think the journalist wrote this story?

Yes, I'm the guy who created the scandal in Asia awhile ago. :P

Yes, I'm also the guy who wrote the very funny ESL bookNew York City Sucks, But You'll Wanna Live Here Anyway.

If this page is useful to you, please buy the book (it's quite inexpensive and useful!!!!). If you don't have an e-reader, drop me a line at and I'll send you a free copy via Word file. Let me know whether you have Word 2010 or an earlier version.

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