I'm baffled by the media's surprise and astonishment at the fact that government agencies are trying to catch reporters' "confidential sources".

A senior federal law enforcement official tells ABC News the government is tracking the phone numbers we (Brian Ross and Richard Esposito) call in an effort to root out confidential sources.

"It's time for you to get some new cell phones, quick," the source told us in an in-person conversation. ...

The official who warned ABC News said there was no indication our phones were being tapped so the content of the conversation could be recorded.

A pattern of phone calls from a reporter, however, could provide valuable clues for leak investigators.

No duh. What Brian Ross, Richard Esposito, and their sources are doing is illegal. It's nice that their sources may possibly be leaking information because they think it's in the best interests of Americans, but even though I'm skeptical that that's the true motive, it's irrelevant. The sources don't have the authority to release information. That's a decision to be made by our elected representatives, not by anonymous, unaccountable bureaucrats or reporters looking for a scoop. I personally hope that law enforcement cracks down hard on both the sources and the recipients of the leaks.

(HT: Chicago Tribune and Digg.)

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