Reading Room Document
Criminal Liability for Newspaper Publication of Naval Secrets
A reporter who kept or copied a Navy dispatch containing a list of Japanese ships expected to take part in an upcoming naval battle, and later submitted for publication a newspaper article with information from the dispatch, appears to have violated sections 1(b) and 1(d) of the Espionage Act, but it is doubtful he violated sections 1(a) and 2. Whether the managing editor and publisher of the newspaper that published the article might also be criminally liable under the Espionage Act depends on their intent and knowledge of the facts. The OLC does not provide release dates for its opinions, so the release date listed is the date on which the opinion was authored. The original opinion is available at www.justice.gov/file/20691/download.
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