Brooke and Bob have an update about the case against two civilians charged with leaking, and a bit of news about a lawsuit against one of our recent interviewees.
BOB GARFIELD: And now a couple of updates. In October, we reported on the federal prosecution of two pro-Israel lobbyists. The men are accused essentially of passing on classified information to journalists that was given to them by a Pentagon staffer. Last week, a judge sentenced that staffer, Larry Franklin, to 12 years in prison for his role in the leak. But thanks to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, we learned this week that Judge T.S. Ellis III dropped another bombshell at the hearing – and I quote, "Persons who have unauthorized possession, who come into unauthorized possession of classified information, must abide by the law. That applies to academics, lawyers, journalists, professors, whatever." In other words, it is a crime in this judge's view merely to possess government secrets, even if you are, say, a newspaper reporter working on an investigative scoop – or, we suppose, a newspaper reader who happens to come across that scoop in the newspaper. At a minimum, it doesn't bode well for the lobbyists themselves, who are scheduled to go on trial in Ellis's courtroom in April. And a little addendum to our interview earlier this month with New York Times business reporter Timothy O'Brien, who said that the Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans is flawed. Exhibit A, in his view: the spotty research he says it does on Donald Trump. O'Brien told us that mostly Forbes just takes Trump's word on his net worth, and Trump is prone to hyperbole.
TIMOTHY O'BRIEN: Trump is, you know, a top-tier smoke-and-mirrors man. In the popular imagination, if people think Donald Trump is a billionaire, Donald Trump can then tour the country telling people how they can become billionaires just like him. And investors can be lazy, and if they think someone has credibility, they'll go ahead and buy the stock.
BOB GARFIELD: On Tuesday, we learned that Trump is suing the reporter and his publisher, contending that O'Brien's book has cost him lost deals and injury to reputation. O'Brien alleged Trump isn't close to being a billionaire. If Trump proves otherwise, he's seeking another five billion dollars in damages to on top of what he already has.