The First Amendment Can’t Protect Assange


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First of all, I feel so much more confident that the TSA’s nude photos of airline passengers will never be released now that I know the government couldn’t even prevent half a million classified national security documents from being posted on WikiLeaks.

President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder will be getting around to WikiLeaks’ proprietor, Julian Assange, just as soon as they figure out which law the New Black Panthers might have violated by standing outside a polling place with billy clubs.

These legal eagles are either giving the press a lot of disinformation about the WikiLeaks investigation or they are a couple of Elmer Fudds who can’t find their own butts without a map.

Since Holder apparently wasn’t watching Fox News a few weeks ago, I’ll repeat myself and save the taxpayers the cost of Holder’s legal assistants having to pore through the federal criminal statutes starting with the A’s.

Among the criminal laws apparently broken by Assange is 18 U.S.C. 793(e), which provides:

“Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, (etc. etc.) relating to the national defense, … (which) the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates (etc. etc) the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same (etc) …

“Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.”

As is evident, merely being in unauthorized possession of classified national security documents that could be used to harm this country and publishing those documents constitutes a felony.

There’s no exception for albinos with webpages — or “journalists.” Journalists are people, too!

Depending on the facts adduced at trial, there are about a half-dozen other federal laws that might apply to the WikiLeaks document dump, including 18 USC 641, which provides that any person who “receives” or “retains” a “thing of value of the United States” knowing “it to have been embezzled, stolen, purloined or converted” is also guilty of a felony, punishable by up to ten years in prison.

Classified information is valuable government property.

The entire public discussion about prosecuting Assange has been neurotically fixated on the First Amendment, as if that matters. Is Assange a “journalist”? What kind of journalist? Who is a “journalist” in the world of the Internet?

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  • okrahead

    Attorney General Eric Holder speaks out on free speech and preventing terror, read it here… http://beautifulletters-bls.blogspot.com/2010/12/

  • Reason_For_Life

    It's hard to believe that this article was written by the same woman that wrote "High Crimes and Misdemeanors".

    She went to law school and there is no reason that she should not be aware of the "Pentagon Papers" case where the SCOTUS clearly and unambiguously stated that the publication of classified documents is protected free speech.

    Her case against Bill Clinton was meticulously researched. This article is just pure trash, beneath the dignity of even a Marxist tabloid writer.

    I'd like to think that Coulter simply became a journalist whore writing whatever will generate cash. However, I don't believe that the motive for her present writing is anywhere near that noble.

    • tagalog

      In the Ellsberg "Pentagon Papers" case, New York Times v. United States, a majority of the justices of the Supreme Court ruled that the government could still prosecute the Times and the Post for violating the Espionage Act by publishing the documents. The case against Ellsberg was dismissed and he was freed due to a mistrial due to irregularities in the government's case (questionable practices in gathering the evidence against Ellsberg).

      • Reason_For_Life

        The government never even considered prosecuting the Times or the Post. Only Ellsberg could be prosecuted because he violated the terms of his security clearance. Since the feds had blatantly violated the 4th and 5th Amendments the case against Ellsberg was dismissed.

        The Espionage Act of 1917 was a typical expression of progressive Wilsonian authoritarianism under which people were prosecuted for merely criticizing the government's war policies. Today, any such prosecution would be annihilated when it got the Supreme Court which is why there will be no prosecution of Assange.

        No federal prosecutor wants to be the attorney that got the Espionage Act declared unconstitutional (which it is).

  • Michael Canzano

    Assange will not be prosecuted. Obama will relinquish his Nobel Peace Prize and award it to Assange. The Lincoln Memorial will be razed and replaced with the "Assange Memorial".The stars on our flag will be removed and replaced with an image of Assange. Our Nation will be renamed "Assangeica". This is the Isanity prevailing in America today. Any time the "Left" wins America loses.
    American Christian Infidel
    Michael Canzano

  • Michael Canzano

    Until we eliminate Congress as a ruling body in our Nation we are doomed. The corruption is running rampant . Most of the members should be serving time in Leavenworth.
    American Christian Infidel
    Michael Canzano