A report just released by CNN reveals that U.S. officials have prepared charges to seek the arrest of whistleblower Julian Assange of WikiLeaks.
Up until now, Assange hasn’t been operating any different than other news organization which publish articles based on classified information, but it’s reported that investigators have found proof that he actively participated in helping NSA analyst, Edward Snowden disclose classified material.
Another matter hangs on whether Snowden is protected under the 1st Amendment or not being he is not a US citizen.
The Justice Department investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks dates to at least 2010, when the site first gained wide attention for posting thousands of files stolen by the former US Army intelligence analyst now known as Chelsea Manning.
Prosecutors have struggled with whether the First Amendment precluded the prosecution of Assange, but now believe they have found a way to move forward.
The US view of WikiLeaks and Assange began to change after investigators found what they believe was proof that WikiLeaks played an active role in helping Edward Snowden, a former NSA analyst, disclose a massive cache of classified documents.
Assange remains holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, seeking to avoid an arrest warrant on rape charges in Sweden. In recent months, US officials had focused on the possibility that a new government in Ecuador would expel Assange and he could be arrested. But the left-leaning presidential candidate who won the recent election in the South American nation has promised to continue to harbor Assange.
Pollack said WikiLeaks is just like the Washington Post and the New York Times, which routinely publish stories based on classified information. WikiLeaks, he says, publishes information that is in “the public’s interest to know not just about the United States but other governments around the world.”
Assange has also compared WikiLeaks to a news media organization that uses documents provided by whistleblowers to expose the actions of governments and powerful corporations.
“Quite simply, our motive is identical to that claimed by the New York Times and The Post — to publish newsworthy content,” Assange wrote in a recent op-ed in The Washington Post. “Consistent with the U.S. Constitution, we publish material that we can confirm to be true irrespective of whether sources came by that truth legally or have the right to release it to the media. And we strive to mitigate legitimate concerns, for example by using redaction to protect the identities of at-risk intelligence agents.”
In his speech last week, Pompeo rejected that characterization and said Assange should not be afforded constitutional free speech protections.
“Julian Assange has no First Amendment freedoms. He’s sitting in an Embassy in London. He’s not a US citizen,” Pompeo said.
But Ben Wizner, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, argued that US prosecution of Assange sets a dangerous precedent.
“Never in the history of this country has a publisher been prosecuted for presenting truthful information to the public,” Wizner told CNN. “Any prosecution of WikiLeaks for publishing government secrets would set a dangerous precedent that the Trump administration would surely use to target other news organizations.”
Many have accused WikiLeaks of being a tool for Russia, and this is definitely the belief held by the current CIA director as well as Sessions who calls Assange’s arrest a “priority”.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 21, 2017
Earlier Assange statement on talk of Trump administration prosecuting WikiLeaks https://t.co/ec9eWALuMO
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 20, 2017
I don’t think they understand the hell they will unleash if they touch Assange.
— Cassandra Fairbanks (@CassandraRules) April 20, 2017
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