Monday, December 27, 2010
Bring Bob Barr back. Former congressman warns of new Sedition Act...
The US Department of Justice has said it was investigating whether it could charge Assange under the Espionage Act or with criminal conspiracy, but no formal charges have yet been issued.
"Many legal scholars, not prone to the pressures of public sentiment (which polls suggest strongly supports prosecuting Assange), correctly argue there simply is no proper basis for a case against the WikiLeaks founder under the Espionage Act, federal conspiracy laws, or other statutes," Barr noted.
"Reading the Espionage Act the way Assange’s critics would have us do, would open a Pandora’s Box of virtually unlimited reach," he wrote.
"By its terms, it criminalizes not merely the disclosure of national defense information by organizations such as Wikileaks, but also the reporting on that information by countless news organizations," Benjamin Wittes, a legal analyst from the Brookings Institution, explained on his blog. "It also criminalizes all casual discussions of such disclosures by persons not authorized to receive them to other persons not authorized to receive them–in other words, all tweets sending around those countless news stories, all blogging on them, and all dinner party conversations about their contents."
"Taken at its word, the Espionage Act makes felons of us all," he added.
"Yet such ridiculously broad expansion of federal law, simply to pillory a person who clearly delights in embarrassing the government, would seem to be what some in Washington, including Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Rep. Peter King (R-NY), just might have in mind," Barr continued.
"And, unfortunately, there are many in the executive branch who appear to be moving in just such direction; actively constructing what may become a conspiracy case against Assange."
"We can only hope Jefferson’s wisdom and understanding will speak from across the ages to shine the bright light of constitutional truth on such dark plans," he concluded.