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United States v. Morison

844 F.2d 1057 (1988)

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United States v. Morison

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

844 F.2d 1057 (1988)

Facts

Samuel Morison (defendant) worked at the Naval Intelligence Support Center and was given top-secret security clearance. Morison signed a nondisclosure agreement as part of the clearance process. Morison was given clear instructions about what types of documents were prohibited from disclosure and to whom disclosures could and could not be made. Morison also worked with the publication Jane’s Fighting Ships (Jane’s), which reported on international naval operations. The Navy approved this arrangement under the condition that Morison would adhere to the nondisclosure agreement. Morison saw satellite photographs of a Soviet ship on the desk of another high-clearance employee of the Navy. The photographs were marked “secret” and included a warning that the images involved intelligence. Morison recognized that the photographs were taken using a secret naval-intelligence method. Morison stole the photographs and mailed them to Jane’s. The photographs were widely published. Morison was arrested and convicted of violating §§ 793(d) and (e) of the federal Espionage Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 793–98. Morison appealed his conviction. Morison challenged whether his conduct fell within the scope of the Espionage Act and whether the statute was constitutional.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Russell, J.)

Concurrence (Phillips, J.)

Concurrence (Wilkinson, J.)

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