The Washington Post's editorial board is demanding the U.S. government offer a plea deal to Edward Snowden, who told the world about the National Security Agency's surveillance programs in the pages of The Washington Post. Now, most papers keep their editorial boards separate from their newsrooms, but they generally acknowledge being on the same team. Not so much in this case: Not only does the Post editorial board demand one its reporter's sources go to jail, the opinion section also thinks the news source is not a very good one, calling him a "naive hacker" and a "political martyr." And the Post insists that "the first U.S. priority" should be to stop further leaks. Which is weird, because Snowden has already leaked his stuff to The Guardian and the Post, and it's up to the editors to decide whether to publish it. The Post, for example, has had 41 slides of a NSA PowerPoint presentation on PRISM, publishing the first four at the beginning of June, and four more last weekend. How many more slides are coming? When will the Post stop leaking?
The hypocrisy was not lost on, well, the entire Internet. Gawker's Hamilton Nolan called the Post a "Jealous Little Newspaper," writing, "Take note, potential leakers and whistleblowers inside the U.S. government: the official stance of the Washington Post's editorial board is that you should shut up and go to jail." Perhaps they should leak elsewhere, he suggested. For The New Republic Michael Kinsley writes, "If the Post felt free to run this information, how damaging to the nation could it be?" If Snowden is guilty of a crime, isn't it's reporter, too? "The Washington Post editorial board wants the NSA leaks to stop, even though it doesn't know what horrors the Snowden trove may hold?" Reuters' Jake Shafer tweets. "Note to Washington Post editorial board: @BartonGellman's stories are coming from INSIDE YOUR BUILDING!"