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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Julian Assange unlikely to face U.S. charges over publishing classified documents

The title of this post comes from this Washington Post article reporting that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is unlikely to face criminal charges for releasing classified documents. The article begins:

The Justice Department has all but concluded it will not bring charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for publishing classified documents because government lawyers said they could not do so without also prosecuting U.S. news organizations and journalists, according to U.S. officials.

The officials stressed that a formal decision has not been made, and a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks remains impaneled, but they said there is little possibility of bringing a case against Assange, unless he is implicated in criminal activity other than releasing online top-secret military and diplomatic documents.

“The problem the department has always had in investigating Julian Assange is there is no way to prosecute him for publishing information without the same theory being applied to journalists,” said former Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller. “And if you are not going to prosecute journalists for publishing classified information, which the department is not, then there is no way to prosecute Assange.”

Justice officials said they looked hard at Assange but realized that they have what they described as a “New York Times problem.” If the Justice Department indicted Assange, it would also have to prosecute the New York Times and other news organizations and writers who published classified material, including The Washington Post and Britain’s Guardian newspaper, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

 

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/civil_rights/2013/11/julian-assange-unlikely-to-face-us-charges-over-publishing-classified-documents.html

Department of Justice, First Amendment, Freedom of Press | Permalink

Comments

The major difference between the Pentagon Papers era and today is that there was a family owned newspaper called the New York Times, a family owned paper called the Washington Post and one owned by the Pulitzers called the Saint Louis Post Dispatch. These people stood up for the First Amendment and your right to know. Wiki Leaks is standing up for you now. The Post just got sold by its "family". Snowden needs some folks to stand with him. So do many others. I hope that the leaks continue.

Posted by: Liberty1st | Nov 26, 2013 6:39:48 PM

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