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U.S. brings new charges against Assange

by Kyle Ziemnick
Posted 5/24/19, 11:05 am

WASHINGTON—The United States charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Thursday with violating the Espionage Act by publishing confidential documents containing the names of protected, high-level sources. In an 18-count indictment, the Department of Justice accused Assange of helping U.S. adversaries and harming national security.

WikiLeaks’ 2010 publication of confidential military and diplomatic documents sparked an immediate federal investigation, but the U.S. government chose not to formally charge Assange until now. Assange sought asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges, which he expected would lead to his eventual removal to the United States. Ecuador evicted Assange in April, and he is now in British custody for skipping bail.

The new charges prompted concerns from media organizations that a ruling against Assange could weaken First Amendment protections for U.S. journalists. The government’s accusations “rely almost entirely on conduct that national-security journalists engage in every day,” said Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.

Prosecutors, though, made a distinction between WikiLeaks’ actions and ordinary reporting, claiming that Assange posed a threat to the U.S. government and its employees. “Julian Assange is no journalist,” said John Demers, the Justice Department’s top national security official.

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Kyle Ziemnick

Kyle is a WORLD Digital news reporter. He is a World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College graduate. Kyle resides in Purcellville, Va. Follow him on Twitter @kylezim25.

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  • WORLD User 188067
    Posted: Fri, 05/24/2019 01:29 pm

    Another event in a long and successful war on journalism and how to successfully kill the population's right to accurate information from news. 

    The Media destroyed their own credibility in favor of profit margins.

    The Trump administration is finishing the job by destroying the notion of truth. 

  • OldMike
    Posted: Wed, 05/29/2019 02:59 pm

    You really think the Trump Administration is the main culprit in “destroying the notion of truth”?

    You really think charging that weasly traitor Assange (a low-life in many ways) with espionage is “war on journalism”?

    Methinks you haven’t been reading or watching news from anywhere but the very worst of the anti-Trump media. 

    BTW, I don’t believe “mainstream” journalists  have “destroyed their own credibility in favor of profit margins.”  No, they’ve destroyed their credibility by relentlessly promoting radical leftist ideology.