Julian Assange Probably Safe from the Zealous Department of Justice. For Now. Probably.

Realizing that attempting to throw Julian Assange in prison for leaking classified documents through WikiLeaks would put the federal government inevitably in a collision course with America’s own media, the Department of Justice appears to be pulling back, for now. From The Washington Post:

The Justice Department has all but concluded it will not bring charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for publishing classified documents because government lawyers said they could not do so without also prosecuting U.S. news organizations and journalists, according to U.S. officials.

The officials stressed that a formal decision has not been made, and a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks remains impaneled, but they said there is little possibility of bringing a case against Assange, unless he is implicated in criminal activity other than releasing online top-secret military and diplomatic documents.

The Obama administration has charged government employees and contractors who leak classified information — such as former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden and former Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning — with violations of the Espionage Act. But officials said that although Assange published classified documents, he did not leak them, something they said significantly affects their legal analysis.

A former spokesman for the DOJ said they could not see any way to prosecute Assange for what he’s done without having to prosecute journalists at places like the New York Times or The Washington Post.

Read the full story here.

I imagine we should be glad that they didn’t just decide the opposite and start prosecuting the journalists, too, the way the Department of Justice has been operating these days.

A statement sent out from WikiLeaks in response to the story suggests they’re not buying it:

The anonymous assertion that Julian Assange may not be indicted for publication of classified documents, even if true, only deals with a small part of the grand jury investigation. That investigation has been primarily concerned with trying to prove somehow that Julian Assange and WikiLeaks were involved, not merely in publication, but in a conspiracy with their sources. There is also the question as to the status of the DoJ investigations into WikiLeaks involvement in the Stratfor and Snowden matters.

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  • Hugh Akston||

    They don't need to bring Assange up on espionage or whatever else. Haven't you heard that he's a rapist? It's amazing how so many dissidents and whistleblowers are also dirty immoral sex criminals, isn't it?

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    Well literally he allegedly 'sexually annoys' women.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    And he didn't even need a cache of doomsday files or whatever. Maybe shooting your full load all over the internet's tits right off the bat is the way to go.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    13-year-old me agrees with you.

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    A former spokesman for the DOJ said they could not see any way to prosecute Assange for what he’s done without having to prosecute journalists at places like the New York Times or The Washington Post.

    And America just isn't ready for that...yet.

  • John C. Randolph||

    I don't think it's charges he has to worry about. If he leaves the embassy, the US government will most likely just kill him in some plausibly deniable way, like a traffic accident.


  • Irish||

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    Did you see the blog post I linked earlier where he admits that he was once randomly assaulted in DC? Read that piece and tell me it's possible for him to sink even lower.

  • Metazoan||

    A gamma male?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to consider a case that challenges the Secret Service's ability to limit protests in the vicinity of the president, particularly in ways that may disfavor demonstrators hostile to the chief executive."


  • Dave Krueger||

    Wikileaks isn't buying it? I wonder why.

    Hahaha! Just kidding. The U.S. government has been known to lie. Not about everything, just everything of any consequence. Fortunately for the government, the public has an irresistible habit of forgetting that, especially when the purveyor of the information is "one of theirs" (ie: belongs to their party).

    Since most of the news we get about the government comes from the government and is distributed by the government's establishment media partners, one must always be open-minded to the idea that much of it is bullshit.

  • JidaKida||

    lol so they want hiom to think anyways.


  • cavalier973||

  • Tamfang||

    "having to prosecute journalists"? Since when does a prosecutor have to prosecute anyone? Surely letting the courtiers slide (while letting them know that the leash could be yanked sometime in the future) is what prosecutorial discretion is all about.


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