Ever wish you could whisper in the president's ear? Give him advice on issues plaguing the nation? Well, here's your chance to tell the world what you would do if you were president of the United States. Twice weekly, we'll ask our readers a question about an issue facing the nation and post your responses here.
The Bush administration and The New York Times are again at odds over national security, this time with new reports of a broad government effort to track global financial transfers. The newspaper, which in December broke news of an effort by the National Security Agency to monitor Americans' telephone calls and e-mails, declined a White House request not to publish a story about the government's inspection of monies flowing in and out of the country.
The Los Angeles Times also reported on the issue Thursday night on its Web site, against the Bush administration's wishes. The Wall Street Journal said it received no request to hold its report of the surveillance. Administration officials were concerned that news reports of the program would diminish its effectiveness and could harm overall national security. Read more.
If YOU were president, would you ask the press not to publish stories that might diminish the effectiveness of criminal investigations?
Click on the links in the boxes on the right to read recent stories on this topic, then e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"The people who leak classified info and those who release it should both be held accountable." —Jack (Honolulu, Hawaii)
"There are people out there who honestly believe the government is always up to no good and can not be trusted. Sometimes it can be that way, but not always. There is not always a 'boogieman' around every corner. That is what 'checks and balances' are used for." — Bob
"I would go after the leakers within the government that leak secret material to the press."— Lore
"Most reasonable people, who don't hate this president's guts, already knew that our government was doing this kind of activity. If we weren't doing these types of operations, then they wouldn't be doing their jobs.. We don't need to talk about these programs, but we do need to win this war. I think crimes have been committed by these so-called whistle blowers and the press and it's time to start prosecuting them." — John (Maryland)
"I am afraid that I would return to the practice during the last war the U.S. won and keep most information secret until such time as the enemy has no use from it. I would follow FDR's methods as much as possible."— Scott (Michigan)
"What hurts our national security is individuals who have vital information, but are unable to keep it secure and out of the hands of the press. The press does what it is trained to do: tell the American public everything they possibly can, right, wrong, or 'secret.' It would be nice if the press would honor the request of the federal government, but that is not realistic. Unless printing information against the wish of the government becomes an act of treason, the show will go on." — Debi
"If I were president, I would upgrade the position of press secretary to a cabinet level position and create a special office under them. This office would be accessible 24-7 to journalists when they are considering releasing information that may be damaging. When contacted, the office would form an ad-hoc committee consisting of the specific journalists, their editor, their publisher, a representative of the attorney general, and representatives of the government agency responsible for the investigation in question. The purpose of this committee would be to discuss the information being considered and decide whether journalistic freedom should trump the government's need for secrecy." — Ed (Redmond, WA)
"Consistently I hear news reports that make me think, do we really need to know this? I have no idea how the newspapers get access to things that seem classified. I don't think we should have to ask the papers not to publish sensitive information. They should not know about it in the first place." — Bonnie
"Our government already holds too may things secret from the American people as it is. Only this week did anything come out about the weapons of mass destruction; people were screaming about it since the beginning of the war. If I were president, I’d stay out of the media’s business because they just want people to know what’s really happening." — Jeremy (Marcellus, MI)
"I would ask Congress to hold media outlets accountable for their actions. I would want legislation allowing families of victims to seek compensation from the media outlets that assist terrorist in their plans." — Donald
"If the story affects national security and the papers published it anyway, then I would maximum efforts by the FBI to find out who leaked the information to the press and prosecute them. The security leaks must stop because we are at war." — John (Hauppauge, NY)
"There’s a time and place for everything. After our brave troops come home, and after Iraq and Afghanistan are on their way, then we can discuss controversial programs. But our troops are still there dying and fighting. Now is not the time." — Terri (Elberta, AL)
"Yes, I would ask the press not to publish anything that would diminish the effectiveness of national security. Freedom of speech should stop when it puts our country in danger. I haven’t purchased a newspaper in several years and do not intend to in the future. I would like to see them all go broke." — Jerry