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Document Type

Notes

Abstract

The practice of leaking confidential government information to members of the press is a longstanding American tradition widely condoned as vital to government transparency. Until 2009, prosecutions of leakers were virtually unknown. Since then, however, there has been an increase in the number of prosecutions under the Espionage Act, the federal statute criminalizing unauthorized disclosures of government information. This has subsequently led to a corresponding increase in criticism of the law. Although critics contend that the law is both overly broad and overly harsh, conventional wisdom holds that it is nowhere near as sweeping, nor as severe, as the United Kingdom’s Official Secrets Act. A closer comparison reveals that the two laws are not as dissimilar as typically presumed.

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