Julian Assange, WikiLeads Founder, Charged With Breaking The Espionage Act, Sparking Free Speech Concerns
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has been charged with unlawfully obtaining and publishing national defense information alongside Chelsea Manning, former Army intelligence analyst.
Assange has been charged for 17 counts under the Espionage Act. The claims made by prosecutors are that he convinced Manning to give war-related activity reports from Iraq to him.
Assange was arrested last month in London for his attempt to hack computers in the Pentagon in 2010. The Justice Department has mapped out the charges he would face if he were to be extradited from the U.K. to the U.S. Earlier in May, a well-known Swedish prosecutor also stated that a rape investigation of Assange, which was suspected to have occurred during 2017, was going to be re-opened. Assange has denied the rape allegations.
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Manning was arrested for her role in the leaks, specifically for the release of a video of a U.S. helicopter attacking people in Iraq during 2007, which was titled “Collateral Murder” on WikiLeaks.
Earlier in May, Manning refused to testify in front of a grand jury about her connections to WikiLeaks. However, as another charge has been made against Assange, she again has refused to go before a grand jury.
Assange himself tweeted a response that questions what journalism means today.
This is madness. It is the end of national security journalism and the first amendment. https://t.co/wlhsmsenFw
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) May 23, 2019
ACLU has also responded to the claims against Assange through their Twitter account.
BREAKING: For the first time in the history of our country, the government has brought criminal charges under the Espionage Act against a publisher for the publication of truthful information. This is a direct assault on the First Amendment. https://t.co/RJxjFPfkHe
— ACLU (@ACLU) May 23, 2019
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