Think about how many news stories we've heard about only because there was a leak to the press. This is scary.
The NSA spying program is super weird and creepy. But so much of what we hear about it is about how it affects us as individuals. But what if you're a journalist?
Jonathan Landay changed everything we knew about the U.S. drone program.
In 2013, he broke a huge story about the program based on info from a confidential source.
Prior to Landay's reporting, the government had said publicly that it was only using the drone program to kill al-Qaeda's highest ranking leaders. But in documents he acquired from a government source, it was clear the program's use was much more widespread than had been disclosed and that drone operators could not be sure who was actually killed in a given operation.
His 3,000-word report launched hundreds of articles, blogs, and news reports about how the CIA was lying to us about the drone program.
His outlet, McClatchyDC, didn't produce U.S. intelligence reports out of thin air. Someone had knowledge and access to these documents, and that person recognized the American people deserved to know their government was lying to them.
But government employees know that the NSA can track what they do and who they talk to.
It scares the crap out of them. They don't want lose their jobs or go to jail.
How are we supposed to know what our government is really doing if government employees are too afraid to give journalists the truth?
Think of all the incredibly important stories that have come out in just the last 10 years that relied on confidential sources. If the spying program makes journalists use "mafia-like" or "drug-dealer-like" methods just to do their jobs, isn't that something to be concerned about?