Undermining the “enemy”

Two Danish journalists face jail for printing politically inconvenient, but truthful, material:

Two Danish reporters who cited a secret government report casting doubt on the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the US-led invasion have been indicted for violating national security, the state prosecutor said on Thursday.

It is the first time in the history of modern Denmark that journalists have been charged with divulging state secrets.

Michael Bjerre and Jesper Larsen, reporters at the conservative Berlingske Tidende daily, face up to two years in jail for a series of articles published in 2004 drawing from internal analyses provided to them by a Danish intelligence operative, Frank Grevil.

The secret assessment, written before the United States toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in March 2003 – an invasion which Denmark joined – concluded that ‘there (exists) no certain information on operational weapons of mass destruction’ in Iraq.

Washington Post journalist and Pulitzer prize winner Dana Priest explains the importance of reporting government lies in a time of war, especially in the face of threats and excessive secrecy.