updated 6/9/2011 2:46:32 PM ET 2011-06-09T18:46:32

Alan Dershowitz, Consultant to WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange's Legal Defense Team, & David Sanger, The New York Times Chief Washington Correspondent Win Debate Over Michael Chertoff, Fmr. Secretary of Homeland Security, & Gabriel Schoenfeld, Hudson Institute Senior Fellow

Debate to be broadcast on NPR stations nationwide and to be telecast on "THIRTEEN" on WNET, WLIW 21 and WLIW World

NEW YORK, June 9, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- With world governments still reeling from the WikiLeaks fallout, acclaimed debate series Intelligence Squared US turned its attention to the balance between national security and freedom of the press.

After watching the heated debate, IQ2US's live, sold-out audience came down in favor of the Dershowitz/Sanger team, deciding against the motion that "Freedom of the press does not extend to state secrets".

The debates pitted former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, teamed with Hudson Institute and Necessary Secrets author Gabriel Schoenfeld, against renowned Harvard legal scholar Alan Dershowitz and David Sanger, The New York Times' chief Washington correspondent who played a key role in the paper's WikiLeaks reporting.

This latest intellectual matchup was IQ2US's 50th debate and a special addition to its regularly scheduled season, done in partnership with the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the opening of the documentary, Page One: Inside the New York Times.  

ABC News Nightline's John Donvan is the moderator, and the executive producer is Dana Wolfe.

Key Excerpts Against the Motion:

ALAN DERSHOWITZ

"The First Amendment is about Drudge [The Drudge Report].  The First Amendment is about extremist newspapers and magazines that are very unpopular.  The First Amendment is about people who could never win a case in front of a jury.  That's whom the First Amendment is about.  I don't worry about The New York Times.  They can defend themselves.  They knock down trees by the forest full. Governments don't go after newspapers like The New York Times."

DAVID SANGER

"The hard question is what do you do to make sure that the press in the United States can force the government to debate policy on the most important questions, whether or not we invade a country and have the right evidence to go do so, whether or not we use a new weapon, whether it is a nuclear weapon in 1945 or a cyber weapon in 2011, and think out ahead what the effects could be once we legitimize that form of war. You cannot do that unless you have a bias in favor of publication, not just a bias among all of us, but a legal bias in favor of publication, one that will make sure that the republic holds together because we have made ourselves different by pressing for publication whenever there is doubt."

Key Excerpts for the Motion:

MICHAEL CHERTOFF

"In the case of Assange, it's reported that his purpose in leaking the information as he told his associates is because he wants to make it impossible for the U.S. government to function by making it impossible for secrets to be held, so that people can't have conversations.  So he's motivated by ill will to the United States.  Now, is this the man we want to trust if God forbid he got a hold of the bin Laden attack plan, do we want to trust him to exercise his judgment?"

GABRIEL SCHOENFELD

"Today we have WikiLeaks which in the name of transparency has indiscriminately dumped thousands of secret diplomatic and military cables onto the Internet.  Now, some of those documents are innocuous.  Many of them without question help us better understand what our government is doing around the world … One WikiLeaks document, a U.S. Army document that they put on the Internet, describes the technical details of the jamming devices used by our soldiers in Iraq to scramble the signals that insurgents were using to detonate roadside bombs.  Now, I ask you, is there any reasonable person who believes it should be legal to publish the secret countermeasures used by our soldiers to keep from getting blown up on the battlefield?"

Before the debate, the IQ2US audience voted with the following:

  • 39% of audience agreeing with the resolution
  • 31% of audience against the resolution
  • 30% undecided

After careful consideration of the points, Dershowitz and Sanger won the debate: the team that moves the most votes at the end of the evening is determined the winner.

  • 46% of audience agreeing with the resolution
  • 47% of audience against the resolution
  •  7% undecided

To learn more about the debate and review a detailed breakdown of how the audience voted pre- and post-debate, please visit our Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/Think2Twice

The showdown at NYU's Skirball Center in New York City (566 LaGuardia Place) puts the leading public intellectuals in the limelight in front of a live audience for nearly two hours of heated debate.

NOTES TO EDITORS

To view transcripts and videos, download audio or video clips or learn more about Intelligence Squared US, please visit: http://intelligencesquaredus.org/index.php/past-debates/americas-house-divided-statesecret/

  • WNET'S "THIRTEEN" will air the debate on Wednesday, June 15th at 12:30 am; WLIW 21 will air the debate on Thursday, June 30th at 7 pm with WLIW World repeating the following week. (Check Local Listings)
  • NPR will air the debate on stations nationwide and the podcast will be available to download. Please check with your local NPR stations for additional details or visit: www.npr.org/intelligencesquared

ABOUT INTELLIGENCE SQUARED DEBATES (IQ2US)

Rethink your point of view with Intelligence Squared U.S. (IQ2US), Oxford-style debates live from New York City. Based on the highly successful debate program based in London, Intelligence Squared, Intelligence Squared U.S. has presented 50 debates on a wide range of provocative and timely topics. From global warming and the financial crisis, to Afghanistan/Pakistan and the death of mainstream media, Intelligence Squared brings together the world's leading authorities on the day's most important issues.

Since its inception in 2006, the goals have been to provide a new forum for intelligent discussion, grounded in facts and informed by reasoned analysis; to transcend the toxically emotional and the reflexively ideological; and to encourage recognition that the opposing side has intellectually respectable views.

The Rosenkranz Foundation initiated the Intelligence Squared U.S. Debate Series and continues to provide major support.

Press Contact: 
Robert Pini  
212.918.2048 / 917.674.6575
Robert@high10media.com

Emily Burgess
212.918.2047 / 646.842.0135
Emily@high10media.com

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