Returning Classified Documents

By: Jack, Bella, Mya

In 2004 The Washington Post had in their hands documents from the National Security Agency that had groups, including the al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, that they believed could be classified as terrorist organizations.

The Post had multiple copies of the documents and instead of publishing them, they had returned them to the Government. The Washington Post’s attorney, Eric Lieberman, had stated that ” ‘we do not agree that we are under any legal obligation to return the document in question or to refrain from reporting on the contents. However, we have decided to return all three copies of the document in our possession.’ Editor & Publisher reported.” per the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

This case shows that there is not only ethical ramifications involved with handling classified documents but can also involve legal issues, as after the Post had returned the documents the al-Haramain Islamic Foundation had sued the government stating that the NSA was targeting them through domestic surveillance.

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