May 23, 2019

NEW YORK — The Department of Justice today charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange under the Espionage Act.

Ben Wizner, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, issued the following comment in response:

“For the first time in the history of our country, the government has brought criminal charges against a publisher for the publication of truthful information. This is an extraordinary escalation of the Trump administration's attacks on journalism, and a direct assault on the First Amendment. It establishes a dangerous precedent that can be used to target all news organizations that hold the government accountable by publishing its secrets. And it is equally dangerous for U.S. journalists who uncover the secrets of other nations. If the US can prosecute a foreign publisher for violating our secrecy laws, there’s nothing preventing China, or Russia, from doing the same.”

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