Tags: assange wikileaks

Assange Could Be Charged With Espionage

Tuesday, 30 Nov 2010 06:44 AM


Federal authorities are investigating whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange violated criminal laws in the group's release of government documents, including possible charges under the Espionage Act, sources familiar with the inquiry told The Washington Post.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said the Justice Department and Pentagon are conducting "an active, ongoing criminal investigation.'' Others familiar with the probe said the FBI is examining everyone who came into possession of the documents, including those who gave the materials to WikiLeaks and also the organization itself. No charges are imminent, the sources said, and it is unclear whether any will be brought.

Former prosecutors cautioned that prosecutions involving leaked classified information are difficult because the Espionage Act is a 1917 statute that preceded Supreme Court cases that expanded First Amendment protections. The government also would have to persuade another country to turn over Assange, who is outside the United States.

But the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the inquiry is rapidly unfolding, said charges could be filed under the act. The U.S. attorney's office in Alexandria - which in 2005 brought Espionage Act charges, now dropped, against two former pro-Israel lobbyists - is involved in the effort, the sources said.

Read the entire story at washingtonpost.com

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2010-44-30
Tuesday, 30 Nov 2010 06:44 AM
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