What's With Joe Lieberman?

Joe Lieberman is going all Javert on the New York Times:

Lieberman, who is chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, told Fox News: "To me, New York Times has committed at least an act of bad citizenship. And whether they've committed a crime, I think that bears very intensive inquiry by the Justice Department."

How bad is this idea? Monumentally, catastrophically bad, and not just because I don't want to see David Sanger in jail, in part because we're both supposed to lecture our eighth-graders' class soon on interviewing techniques and I don't want to carry the load alone. It's a terrible idea because -- well, here's the thing with Lieberman that I don't understand: Jim DeMint might want to investigate The New York Times because that's what they always want to do in South Carolina. But Joe Lieberman, erstwhile liberal, who came of age in Watergate, should understand the role of newspapers in a free America. Rem Rieder:

The recent drop of diplomatic cables so far hasn't produced a smoking gun. But it has provided a plethora of valuable nuggets about our relations with a wide array of other countries. Those nuggets in and of themselves, however, often don't tell you much. They scream for context and perspective and interpretation, for insightful parsing by expert reporters.

For journalism.

And so the New York Times would be remiss in its duty if it didn't report on the leaked material. A news outlet's mission is to publish information, not repress it. There has to be a very compelling reason to hold back.