http://www.washingtonpost.com/opini...7/30/gJQAF0pHLX_story.html?wprss=rss_homepage Excerpts: EVERY DAY IN Washington, government officials — at the Pentagon, the State Department, the White House, Congress or the CIA, to name a few — talk to journalists about information that is considered sensitive. The officials are not quoted by name, but the information is provided for the reporter’s understanding and it often makes its way into the public realm. These officials are attempting to help the American people sort out complex policies. Often they have strong views, as boosters or dissidents of the policies. This vast public square is a robust and enduring feature of our democracy. Now, spurred by recent national security leaks, the Senate intelligence committee has voted 14 to 1 to outlaw many of such background briefings. An amendment to the 2013 intelligence authorization bill would prohibit anyone but the director, deputy director or public affairs representative of an intelligence agency from providing “background or off-the-record information regarding intelligence activities” to the media. Those at the top could go on talking, while lower-level experts or anyone who might have contrary views would be blocked. ……. It sweepingly prohibits disclosure of “intelligence activities” without distinguishing among different levels of classification that are used every day by the 4.8 million people authorized to handle such material.