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And I think that is what we will see here if a leaker is caught, a claim that the gov't cannot make it criminal to expose its own illegal or unconstitutional conduct.

I doubt that would ever be a successful defense.

The government can certainly criminalize the disclosure of classified information, even when that information is evidence of Executive wrongdoing. The remedy available to a "whistleblower" would be to submit that evidence of wrongdoing to those other branches of government that may legally receive classified information - members of the House, members of the Senate, or going to the judiciary.

An individual doesn't just get to decide on his own a complicated issue of statutory and constitutional law, and therefore release classified information to the press. Criminalization of that kind of disclosure is perfectly legitimate.

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