2/19/21 Ben Wizner on the Dangerous Precedent of the Assange Prosecution

by | Feb 21, 2021 | Interviews

Scott talks to Ben Wizner of the ACLU about the ongoing Julian Assange saga. Assange’s attempted prosecution under the Espionage Act is practically unprecedented, says Wizner. While it’s true that many leakers of government secrets have been charged for violations of secrecy agreements, no journalist or publisher has ever been successfully prosecuted for putting those secrets out to the public. The Obama administration considered going after Assange, but realized that to do so would set a precedent that would also encapsulate the New York Times, the Washington Post and any other outlet that claims to conduct national security journalism. The Trump administration, on the other hand, apparently wasn’t concerned with that problem, and went after Assange anyway. Wizner and Scott just hope that mainstream journalists will realize what a problem it would be if Assange were convicted, not just for their livelihoods, but for American liberal democracy as we know it.

Discussed on the show:

Ben Wizner is an American lawyer, writer, and civil liberties advocate with the American Civil Liberties Union. Follow him on Twitter @benwizner.

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