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This tipsheet offers current "notes from the field" from experienced journalists on how to navigate closed-off waters in order to effectively report on the U.S. military.
Sources who help expose corruption or misconduct sometimes violate the law by taking evidence that is not their property. But what about the source who is breaking the law in real-time or who tells a journalist about the crimes that she plans to commit? What can a journalist do to protect a source who is keeping classified information on a home computer - and the journalist will shortly publish a story that will focus law enforcement attention directly on the source? What if the crime goes beyond just spiriting documents out of the office and involves more serious offenses – and the journalist know about it? Other real-life episodes to be considered include: Dealing with sources who proffer classified information, sources who secretly (but unlawfully) record telephone calls or intercept other communications, the risks involved when a source is also a computer hacker, and little-known tools that can be used to protect anonymous sources. This tipsheetwill focus on how the law treats these cases and what can be done by journalists to protect themselves and their sources from criminal exposure - and still get the story.
How I requested and received documents from the American Secret Archives: The Cold War in Bulgaria, as revealed by secret American archivesThe author discusses how he used the Freedom of Information Act to request hundreds of documents about Bulgaria from US Intelligence Command. He discusses the bureaucratic process he went through to get the documents, and offers many suggestions for other reporters facing a similar project. The tips not only include advice for filing requests, but also many suggestions about how to read official documents once they have been released.
National Defense Authorization Act, 1990; "Principles of Information", Cohen, 1997; FOI Letter, McNamara, 1967Yes, there is an ombudsman at the DoD who makes sure that the First Amendment right of military personnel and their families are protected through the Stars and Stripes newspaper. This tipsheet is part of the Act that makes the Stars and Stripes an independent shop, a memo from former Secretary of Defense McNamera reaffirming the public information policy of the DoD from 1967, and the "Principles of Information" Memo from today's DoD.