Correction: The Espionage Act says “reason to believe,”
    not “reason to know.”

Ooops! However, the difference in wording is actually good news for those who hope for a Karl Rove frog-march.

An alert reader catches me in an error in my parsing of the Espionage Act. I recited one of the elements of the offense as “reason to know that the information could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.” In fact, the phrase is “reason to believe.”

That’s actually an easier element to prove, since it’s possible to “believe,” but not to “know,” something that isn’t true. So the prosecution merely would merely have to show that the defendant had reason to believe that the information could be used to damage the country. That’s obviously true about an undercover CIA identity.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com