Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) said Wednesday that the government should give reporters "what they want" by imprisoning them for refusing to reveal their sources.


His comments came during a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on whether reporters could be prosecuted for leaking sensitive national-security information.

"One way to have fewer leaks is to actually prosecute and put in prison the people who do the leaking," Gowdy said. "I couldn't find a federal statutory reporter privileges. Am I missing it?"

He noted there were a number of limitations on First Amendment rights, including obscenity, deceptive advertising and libel. Gowdy described the idea the First Amendment couldn't be limited as "balderdash."

He also criticized Department of Justice guidelines, which require the U.S. Attorney General to personally approve requests to subpoena a reporter. Gowdy claimed the agency was unlikely to sign off on such a request if it threatened to result in the administration's embarrassment.

"Why not send a subpoena to the reporter?" Gowdy said. "Put them in front of a grand jury. You either answer a question or you’re going to be held in contempt and go to jail, which is what I thought all reporters aspire to anyway. I mean all of us aspire to be committee chairman. I thought that was the crown jewel in a reporter's resume is to actually go to jail protecting a source. Give em what they want."

Watch video, courtesy of C-SPAN, below: