Panama Papers: Süddeutsche Zeitung’s (SZ) Claims “National Security,” Press Plays Dead

“National security” is the battle cry of governments seeking to conceal materials from the public.

In an odd turn of events, Süddeutsche Zeitung‘s (SZ), the recipient of the Panama Papers leak, claims the equivalent of national security to withhold the leaked data.

No one doubts the obligation of Süddeutsche Zeitung to protect the identity of the leaker, but specious logic leads SZ astray:

“As journalists, we have to protect our source: we can’t guarantee that there is no way for someone to find out who the source is with the data. That’s why we can’t make the data public,” the team said during an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit, which included journalist Bastian Obermayer, who was first contacted by the anonymous source.

“You don’t harm the privacy of people, who are not in the public eye. Blacking out private data is a task that would require a lifetime of work – we have eleven million documents,” the unit added.

Change SZ to the United States government, any government, and play back the argument:

Out of 11.5 million documents “…we can’t guarantee that there is no way for someone to find out who the source is with the data. That’s why we can’t make the data public….

A twitter storm of mockery would follow along with Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

Süddeutsche Zeitung makes such an absurd claim and the press responds with:

(dead air)

All Süddeutsche Zeitung can guarantee is their secrecy:

… prevents the general public from checking government abuses of power and participating in democratic deliberation over the optimal [financial regulation] policies. page 817 Secrecy and National Security Investigations by Nathan Alexander Sales.

And the public cannot hold Süddeutsche Zeitung and others responsible for who have not been named in current reports.

Has anyone mentioned Süddeutsche Zeitung remains in possession of a treasure trove that will see present cub reporters past retirement?

One of the righteous 400 journalists with access to the Panama Papers needs to complete the leaking process. Empower the public to reach its own conclusions. Aided by the independent press but not dependent upon it.

Leak the leak!

3 Responses to “Panama Papers: Süddeutsche Zeitung’s (SZ) Claims “National Security,” Press Plays Dead”

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