If You Knew
Suppose you had an article you wanted to write. Your intention was to present a conclusion you had reached, one you had offered or strongly suggested in previous articles you had published. The article you were considering was different from the others, however, in that you had gathered more information, and some of that information was of a different kind: many new bits and pieces—facts, observations, hearsay—from people with whom you had spoken. None of these individuals were "connected" in any meaningful way to some central source of secrets; they were, instead, rather common men and women living as they are in extraordinary times and circumstances. What they had told you had created in your mind a compelling case: their individual perspectives had coordinated with your own general and specific knowledge to lead you to near certainty. Whether or not you would put your judgment quite so starkly in a planned article would be a matter of rhetorical style, but you have no doubt that what you have to say is worthy of publication.
The problem is that this is an era in which publishing such a story could very well be construed by federal law enforcement personnel as a national security issue. Worse still, those with whom you had spoken might or might not know about your particular political leanings, but you are pretty sure they did not at the time and still do not know you are a writer whose works are read by people all across the nation and the world. It is possible that your sources would not have spoken nearly so freely with you had they known about your literary and journalistic work; and as such, you have no direct permission to quote them. (However, you can't shake the suspicion that some of them actually did know about your journalistic work and were trying to warn the country through you.) If their association with your article were to be revealed, their careers could be in jeopardy were national security interests to learn their names; and even if you were to minimally buttress the credibility of your article by citing "anonymous sources," you know very well that federal courts have now dismissed journalistic source privilege as an affirmative assertion before federal grand juries.
Knowing all that you know, what would you do?
Presented at Night Bird's Fountain
If You Knew
This article is cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums.