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 'No Constitutional Difference' Between WikiLeaks And New York Times: Dershowitz

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RR Phantom

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'No Constitutional Difference' Between WikiLeaks And New York Times: Dershowitz Vide
PostSubject: 'No Constitutional Difference' Between WikiLeaks And New York Times: Dershowitz   'No Constitutional Difference' Between WikiLeaks And New York Times: Dershowitz Icon_minitimeFri Apr 12, 2019 6:11 pm

Is Julian Assange another Pentagon Papers case?

Before WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gained asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012, he and his British legal team asked me to fly to London to provide legal advice about United States law relating to espionage and press freedom. I cannot disclose what advice I gave them, but I can say that I believed then, and still believe now, that there is no constitutional difference between WikiLeaks and the New York Times.

If the New York Times, in 1971, could lawfully publish the Pentagon Papers knowing they included classified documents stolen by Rand Corporation military analyst Daniel Ellsberg from our federal government, then indeed WikiLeaks was entitled, under the First Amendment, to publish classified material that Assange knew was stolen by former United States Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning from our federal government.

So if prosecutors were to charge Assange with espionage or any other crime for merely publishing the Manning material, this would be another Pentagon Papers case with the same likely outcome. Many people have misunderstood the actual Supreme Court ruling in 1971. It did not say that the newspapers planning to publish the Pentagon Papers could not be prosecuted if they published classified material. It only said that they could not be restrained, or stopped in advance, from publishing them. Well, they did publish, and they were not prosecuted.

The same result would probably follow if Assange were prosecuted for publishing classified material on WikiLeaks, though there is no guarantee that prosecutors might not try to distinguish the cases on the grounds that the New York Times is a more responsible outlet than WikiLeaks. But the First Amendment does not recognize degrees of responsibility. When the Constitution was written, our nation was plagued with irresponsible scandal sheets and broadsides. No one described political pamphleteers Thomas Paine or James Callender as responsible journalists of their day.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-04-12/no-constitutional-difference-between-wikileaks-and-new-york-times-dershowitz
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