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Stephen L. Carter

Leakers Are Liars. Sometimes That's OK.

The ethics of spilling other people's secrets.
It's complicated.

It's complicated.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

One important lesson from former FBI Director James Comey’s congressional testimony on Thursday is that leaking needs an ethical structure. Other human activities have ethical structures. Leaking should too.

Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee that he leaked the details of his meeting with President Donald Trump to pressure the administration to appoint a special counsel to investigate Russia's interference in the 2016 election. That seems to me an admirable purpose. But not all leaks are equally admirable, no matter how voracious our appetite for them.