Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Prosecuting Julian Assange could open a hornet's nest for journalists (with no "Lizbeth")

There are rumors that the Obama Administration will try to prosecute Julian Assange under the Espionage Act of 1917 source)  and Findlaw here), as with this Washington Post story by Ellen Nakashima and Jerry Markon. Nov. 30, here. Jeffrey Smith (CIA counsel in 1995 and 1996) has argued in the Post the same day “Prosecute Wikileaks, then reform our espionage laws”.

Justin Elliot has an article on Salon indicating that prosecution of Assange would set an extremely dangerous precedent. The link is (website url) here (in the Salon "War Room").

Theoretically, journalists and bloggers could be held responsible for publishing or maybe even linking to leaked information, even though until now this has almost never happened. Congress is likely to think about the responsibilities of journalists and bloggers when revising espionage laws, however.

I have personally received about four tips, shared them all with law enforcement, and disclosed only two (the bizarre 2002 hack on one of my web pages dealing with nuclear threats, and a bizarre email about oil fields in Nigeria, Aug. 2008).

This morning on C-SPAN, Candice Miller R-MI ) told the House of Representatives that Wikileaks should be shut down. Ironically, she mentioned the shutdown of 82 websites Nov. 29 for selling counterfeit goods and for intentional copyright infringement.

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