DOJ Preparing Charges Against WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange

 

CNN reports that US authorities are building a case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and are seeking his arrest:

Last week in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, CIA Director Mike Pompeo went further than any US government official in describing a role by WikiLeaks that went beyond First Amendment activity.

He said WikiLeaks “directed Chelsea Manning to intercept specific secret information, and it overwhelmingly focuses on the United States.”

“It’s time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: A non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia,” Pompeo said.

US intelligence agencies have also determined that Russian intelligence used WikiLeaks to publish emails aimed at undermining the campaign of Hillary Clinton, as part of a broader operation to meddle in the US 2016 presidential election. Hackers working for Russian intelligence agencies stole thousands of emails from the Democratic National Committee and officials in the Clinton campaign and used intermediaries to pass along the documents to WikiLeaks, according to a public assessment by US intelligence agencies.

Still, the move could be viewed as political, since Assange is untouchable as long as he remains in the Ecuadorian embassy, and Ecuador has not changed its stance on Assange’s extradition.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said at a news conference Thursday that Assange’s arrest is a “priority.”

“We are going to step up our effort and already are stepping up our efforts on all leaks,” he said. “This is a matter that’s gone beyond anything I’m aware of. We have professionals that have been in the security business of the United States for many years that are shocked by the number of leaks and some of them are quite serious. So yes, it is a priority. We’ve already begun to step up our efforts and whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail.

Before publishing Democrat emails, WikiLeaks posted classified files stolen by US Army intelligence analyst Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning in 2010. The group also played an active role in helping NSA analyst Edward Snowden disclose many more classified documents.

What are your thoughts? Should Sessions indict Assange or leave him alone?

Published in Law, Military
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  1. Odysseus Inactive
    Odysseus
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    Robert McReynolds (View Comment):

    Roberto (View Comment):

    Okay so let’s say I know a bank has a particular safe and I go to someone who knows how to break into that safe and ask them to teach me. Is that person guilty of robbing the bank?

    If they know that the intention is to rob a bank then yes, they are an “accomplice before the fact” and are as guilty as the guy who actually breaks into the bank and opens the safe based upon that information and training. If, on the other hand, they were misinformed by the bank robber and were told that the guy only wanted the information and training in order to open a safe that he legitimately owned, then they are not guilty.

    • #61
  2. Odysseus Inactive
    Odysseus
    @Odysseus

    @robertmcreynolds The contents of email discussions are of course private. They have a specific recipient (or set of recipients) and are intended for the recipient(s) only, unless otherwise stated in the email. At least, one has a “reasonable expectation of privacy”. This is not absolute, and it doesn’t cover things like asking someone to commit a murder: there is no such thing as a confidential murder.

    But to the point, there is no difference here between email and postal letters. However, what is being collected is metadata, such as the name of the recipient, the time of sending, etc. This is the same as reading the address label on a postal letter and connecting it via handwriting analysis to the sender. What is on the address label is not private, it is necessarily semi-public in order for the email/letter to reach its destination. The NSA are not doing bulk email collection of US citizens (as a British citizen, I am not covered by this), only metadata. That’s the distinction.

    On the general points you’ve raised, yes I understand your privacy concerns. Believe me, it worries me more than you know. I just take a slightly different angle.

    • #62
  3. Robert McReynolds Inactive
    Robert McReynolds
    @RobertMcReynolds

    Odysseus (View Comment):

    Robert McReynolds (View Comment):
    However, this is not what Assange has done. The two biggest examples–Manning and Snowden–were the ones who brought him the information. He just published. He did not do anything to extract the information electronically, he just received the work of others. So maybe the issue is can a person be subject to personal jurisdiction of the US courts for violation of the Espionage act without being the person who committed the act of espionage and not being a US citizen and not having any minimum contact in the US?

    Yes. He doesn’t have First Amendment rights, and it’s not even clear that First Amendment rights would necessarily protect him.

    I don’t think it does either but nor do I think the US has personal jurisdiction over Assange.

    • #63
  4. Robert McReynolds Inactive
    Robert McReynolds
    @RobertMcReynolds

    There is a huge difference between snail mail and email. One email does not go through a government system like snail mail does.

    • #64
  5. Robert McReynolds Inactive
    Robert McReynolds
    @RobertMcReynolds

    Also law enforcement would still need probable cause to get a warrant to see the email I sent discussing murder, unless the recipient brought it to the cops attention.

    • #65
  6. Robert McReynolds Inactive
    Robert McReynolds
    @RobertMcReynolds

    Odysseus (View Comment):

    Robert McReynolds (View Comment):

    Roberto (View Comment):

    Okay so let’s say I know a bank has a particular safe and I go to someone who knows how to break into that safe and ask them to teach me. Is that person guilty of robbing the bank?

    If they know that the intention is to rob a bank then yes, they are an “accomplice before the fact” and are as guilty as the guy who actually breaks into the bank and opens the safe based upon that information and training. If, on the other hand, they were misinformed by the bank robber and were told that the guy only wanted the information and training in order to open a safe that he legitimately owned, then they are not guilty.

    Yeah that’s a good point and only realized after posting.

    • #66
  7. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Odysseus (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    You are thinking our own intel people are clean here?

    I don’t think they had a hand in the DNC hack, and I’m not really sure what else they’re being accused of. What is true is that Julian Assange is a conduit for leaks of US classified information. He doesn’t publish stuff on the Russians, the Iranians, etc., only stuff damaging to Western interests. He needs to be put in jail, period.

    No government agency has had investigative access to the DNC computer and database to my knowledge and I think Assange has revealed that Seth Rich handed over the information to Wikileaks. I haven’t heard anyone say that he has been caught doling out misleading information yet. If the latter is true, we likely have a coverup since our intel people would have known this and had an opportunity to execute the false flag hack on the DNC. No motive or suspects have surfaced in Seth Rich’s murder.

    • #67
  8. Viruscop Member
    Viruscop
    @Viruscop

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    He published information that hurt Democrats so he must be jailed. If he published information that hurt Republicans then the powers that be would be shouting his defense from the roof tops.

    Your side controls the government now.

    • #68
  9. Robert McReynolds Inactive
    Robert McReynolds
    @RobertMcReynolds

    Odysseus (View Comment):

    Robert McReynolds (View Comment):

    Law enforcement is a completely different animal than intelligence. For starters, the information gathered by cops on their beat is not held as state secrets for the sake of national security. Second, the law is plain. NSA cannot collect on USPERS, period. There is no caveat for metadata vs content. NSA, or any other surveillance conducted for the purposes of national security, must be act under a FISA warrant against a specified target for specified reasons.

    On the contrary, as far as I’m aware the police don’t have any duty to give the public information about operational matters (such as log books, etc.) They also have intelligence units which don’t give out information to the public for obvious reasons.

    As to your second point, I refer the right honourable gentleman to the reply I gave some moments ago.

    How dare you sir, confuse me for a right honorable gentleman!?

    • #69
  10. Odysseus Inactive
    Odysseus
    @Odysseus

    Robert McReynolds (View Comment):

    Odysseus (View Comment):

    Robert McReynolds (View Comment):
    However, this is not what Assange has done. The two biggest examples–Manning and Snowden–were the ones who brought him the information. He just published. He did not do anything to extract the information electronically, he just received the work of others. So maybe the issue is can a person be subject to personal jurisdiction of the US courts for violation of the Espionage act without being the person who committed the act of espionage and not being a US citizen and not having any minimum contact in the US?

    Yes. He doesn’t have First Amendment rights, and it’s not even clear that First Amendment rights would necessarily protect him.

    I don’t think it does either but nor do I think the US has personal jurisdiction over Assange.

    What is this matter of “personal jurisdiction over Assange”? Clearly you must be left to your own opinion.

    • #70
  11. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Viruscop (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    He published information that hurt Democrats so he must be jailed. If he published information that hurt Republicans then the powers that be would be shouting his defense from the roof tops.

    Your side controls the government now.

    First I doubt you know what my side is.  Second the GOP currently has some control of some of the various political aspects of the country’s government.  The Democrats mainly control most of the country’s governments via its bureaucracy.  The country’s governments are made of Democrats, are ran by Democrats and mainly answers to Democrats.  When the Democrats screw up so much that the GOP gets some minor control over the political process the Democrat government uses it powers to throw the usurpers off and replace them with Democrats as soon as possible.  The US Democrat governments prefers its appointed rightful Democrat leadership.

    • #71
  12. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Viruscop (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    He published information that hurt Democrats so he must be jailed. If he published information that hurt Republicans then the powers that be would be shouting his defense from the roof tops.

    Your side controls the government now.

    Such a strong confirmation of perspective. We spent eight solid years watching criminals do their thing with not a single worry about being called to account.

    • #72
  13. Viruscop Member
    Viruscop
    @Viruscop

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    He published information that hurt Democrats so he must be jailed. If he published information that hurt Republicans then the powers that be would be shouting his defense from the roof tops.

    Your side controls the government now.

    First I doubt you know what my side is. Second the GOP currently has some control of some of the various political aspects of the country’s government. The Democrats mainly control most of the country’s governments via its bureaucracy. The country’s governments are made of Democrats, are ran by Democrats and mainly answers to Democrats. When the Democrats screw up so much that the GOP gets some minor control over the political process the Democrat government uses it powers to throw the usurpers off and replace them with Democrats as soon as possible. The US Democrat governments prefers its appointed rightful Democrat leadership.

    Most state houses are controlled by Republicans. Do you think the state government of Mississippi has a single Democrat in power? What about Kansas? Geographically, most of the country is controlled by the GOP. It’s their fault that they can’t raise the standard of living of their constituency.

    • #73
  14. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Viruscop (View Comment):
    It’s their fault that they can’t raise the standard of living of their constituency.

    How do you think government can raise the standard of living of the people governed?

    • #74
  15. Viruscop Member
    Viruscop
    @Viruscop

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):
    It’s their fault that they can’t raise the standard of living of their constituency.

    How do you think government can raise the standard of living of the people governed?

    Build and maintain needed infrastructure. Introduce regulations to reduce externalities.

    • #75
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