Black Faced Sinner has a civil war anecdote about a leak on the Confederate side of the civil war that could have been devastating to their cause:

Back at his hotel, it was Johnston’s turn to be alarmed. He found the lobby buzzing with rumors that the Manassas intrenchments [sic] were about to be abandoned. The news had moved swiftly before him, though he had come directly from the conference: with the result that his reluctance to discuss military secrets with civilians, no matter how highly placed, was confirmed. No tactical maneuver was more difficult than a withdrawal from the presence of a superior enemy. Everything depended on secrecy; for to be caught in motion, strung out along the roads, was to invite destruction. Yet here in the lobby of a Richmond hotel, where every pillar might hide a spy, was a flurry of gossip predicting the very movement he was about to undertake.

Sure, the Union generals may have suspected that their enemy might have to retreat but that is far different from knowing when and where. So it is with the NYT leaks about the NSA survellance program and Swift financial transaction program. Sure, the enemy may suspect that such things are being tracked, but that is far different from knowing the details. Civilians, and that includes the Congress, CIA and State Department, let alone the NYT, should never be made privy to military or national security secrets. The simple fact of the matter is that they will reveal all they know to the enemy and take pride in doing so. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that such traitors will face their just deserts. Perhaps, if we lose a city to a nuke we might start dealing with traitors the way they deserve. Hanging is too good for them.

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