The Other Shoe Is Dropping


Sen. Joe Lieberman believes newspapers that have published the WikiLeaks cables might be legally liable for their actions. Today he told Fox News:

To me The New York Times has committed at least an act of bad citizenship, but whether they have committed a crime is a matter of discussion for the Justice Department.

It'll be interesting to see who in the press finally wakes up to the First Amendment principles at stake here, and who just doubles down on the witch hunt.

Update: Ryan Radia of the Competitive Enterprise Institute has written a useful analysis of whether WikiLeaks can make a constitutional claim against Lieberman for his harassment campaign against the site. Radia's conclusion points out another set of free speech disputes that could be affected:

Sen. Joe Lieberman's arguably unlawful actions aimed at coercing private companies to terminate service to Wikileaks should deeply concern anybody who cares about free speech….Unfortunately, this is just the latest instance of politicians "thuggishly" pressuring private firms to stifle speech. A few months ago, I wrote about a group of state attorneys general successfully bullying Craigslist into terminating its legal "adult services" section. And back in 2008, I wrote about Andrew Cuomo strong-arming Usenet providers into shutting down entire newsgroups simply because they contained a handful of illegal files. A victory for Wikileaks against Joe Lieberman would set a powerful precedent discouraging thuggish politicians from campaigning against Internet sites protected by the First Amendment.