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.

NEXT: A Cold War Relic

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    1. Enterprise Center of Louisiana?

      1. [Evil Chuckle Out Loud]

    2. ECOL I!

  1. Since, apparently, the NYT is too stupid to realize that any actions brought against WikiLeaks today can be brought against them tomorrow (per the Iron Law, of course), Lieberman has done them a favor by making it painfully clear.

    1. Liebs better back off ’em – they’ll or they’ll sic Maureen Dowd on his ass! That’ll learn ‘im!

  2. The feds had totally won the PR war against Wikileaks, but because they’re unabashed dickwads like Senator Asshole here they’ve decided to blow it and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    1. Indeed, I totally agree with this.

      People don’t realize that the Pentagon Papers case didn’t actually overturn the Espionage Act of 1917, and actually said that in certain cases the government could prosecute newspapers for publishing classified documents, and that under certain circumstances prior restraint was legal.

      The justices just agreed (and were split) that in the particular case it didn’t reach the bar.

      Luckily, it set a pretty good precedent. The Pentagon Papers had explosive information detailing US government lies, which made it easy to rally defenders to the cause of press freedom. Precedents matter, and the ruling made it much easier for newspapers to publish other data (and helped ingrain the idea of press freedom), even if the ruling wasn’t absolute.

      People like to pretend that the Justices rule solely on the basis of the law, but in many cases the old maxim of “hard cases make bad law” holds.

      Perhaps the overreach will be so dramatic that we won’t get a negative precedent. Still, it remains that this latest document dump is not the sort of test case that I’d want before the Supreme Court or the court of public opinion. If we get a reinvigorated security and censorship regime in exchange for what so far seems like unremarkable documents, it will not have been worth it.

      Yes, yes, morally the blame falls on both the idiots who would have called for more censorship regardless, and the idiots who go along with a bad precedent because they don’t care about these particular facts. That doesn’t make it a good tactical decision, to start a losing battle instead of starting a battle over documents that show really shocking lies.

      1. Of course, it’s not the first time that papers like the New York Times have argued for terrible precedents for press freedom because they didn’t like particular facts. Their calls for investigations and prosecutions in the Linda Tripp and Valerie Plame issues were counterproductive as well.

      2. As I recall, you pretty much have to be publishing troop movements right before they are going to happen to justify any prior restraint by government. The Wikileaks situation doesn’t appear to even remotely rise to that level.

        1. One senator opens his mouth and we freak out. How do we summon the courage to arise every morning and face the douches who are not us?

          1. He’s not the only one to talk about this issue, of course. Whether a majority of Congress or the president are stupid enough to go overboard with this remains an open question.

  3. What’s the opposite of having your world view shattered?

    1. A three-way with Scarlett Johansson hansen and Ellen Page.

      1. Not sure where that extra hansen came from.

        1. OOOm Bop!

        2. Suuure you don’t. The skinny jean feathered haired bitch look fooled you too.

        3. Hope it’s not one of the Hanson brothers. That would just be awkward (though, on the plus side, they did bring their fucking toys with them).

          1. Or you could have used a clever and slightly subtle reference to them, but hey, your way works too. After all, Two and a Half Men generates ad revenue. You can’t argue with success! No. you. can’t. argue. with. success.

            1. Do you think I’m referring to the band Hanson? If so, 1.) you are wrong; thereby proving 2.) my reference was sufficiently subtle.

              1. Not so fast, everyone know Victor David consumed his brother James Logan in the womb but not before they formed the first prenatal boy band.

              2. It must one of those Generation Z kids.

                Not getting a Slapshot reference. Shameful.

                1. Next time I’ll be sure to reference Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice. I’m sure that’s what the kids are watching these days (and with Billy Baldwin AND Gary Busey, how can you go wrong?).

                  1. Er, Stephen Baldwin. How could I ever get them confused?

                2. A Slapshot reference? That’s not subtle, that’s horrible. I had that movie completely wiped from memory up to now. You get just a half a ding though, as it was pretty clever.

          2. I’ll only skate with the Hansons if they put on the foil.

        4. I lost my virginity to the girl in Hanson.

      2. Looks like you caught the gay.

  4. Assange is going to slip on a banana peel and die. Just watch.

    1. Shot while trying to escape.

      Or the ever popular:

      Hung himself in his own cell.

      1. I say the ever-popular 3 shots with a deer rifle to the back of his head suicide or “cause undetermined”.

      2. Or drowning while trying to swim with more chain than he can carry.

    2. I’m thinking falling off a balcony, or maybe down the elevator shaft. It’s a UN specialty.

        1. Just to be different, Julian was found dead from having attempted to swallow a whole Maine Coon Cat live.

          1. Asphyxiated trying to eat his own hair.

            1. No, no. Joe Lieberman will put a hit on him. Wait and see. Joe Lieberman is omnipotent. He is the anti-Christ.

              1. Lamest. anti. -. Christ. ever.

                Seriously, I thought he was suppose to have charisma.

    3. David St. Hubbins: He died in a bizarre gardening accident…

      Nigel Tufnel: Authorities said… best leave it… unsolved.

  5. I don’t understand what makes this different from the Pentagon Papers. Setting aside the issue of whether anyone should be prosecuted for the leaks, I don’t think you can prosecute Assange or Wikileaks, not on treason (they’re not American) and not on espionage (they’re middlemen, like the NY Times was in 1972). Plus the Pentagon Papers were top-secret, while these cables were merely confidential.

  6. Next up. The entire internets is liable. Everyone will be receiving a subpoena from the federal government.

    In other news, local SWAT teams looking for applicants.

    1. Egads! The crack in my design. That for which I did not foresee, The war of all agencies against all agencies!

      Oh, yeah, and assuming government was a civilizing force after four thousand years of human history showing that to be just so much bullshit like the divine right of kings was kind of stupid too.

      1. Oh, how could you NOT see it coming? The next American Civil War will commence with the various agencies battling for first dibs on skull fucking the few remaining taxpayers. DEA raiding IRS, but being repelled by rouge merc ATF guys, with the survivors all having to battle suicide EPA squads augmented with Department of Ed metal lunch tray swinging psuedo-ninjas. As the carnage ensues, Department of Energy schlubs will sip coffee, chuckling that they control most of the nukes. . .

        1. I like this future you portray for us – please continue!

        2. Hire a screenplay writer, get an agent to shop this in Hollywood. Good luck!

          1. It won’t sell without an evil businessman running everything in secret.

            1. In the script, I mean. The real villain has to be an evil businessman.

              1. After watching the Wolverine movie I could not figure out why the critics ripped on it when it was no worse than many super hero flicks that they praise. One particular critic said that it was a film no one wanted, though 360 million in gross disagrees. The acting in it was good in the parts where it wasn’t overly melodramatic, Liev Schreiber was fantastic, and Kevin Durand left you wanting more.

                So, what could it have been? Oh, yeah, no corporate villains. Boo! Hiss!

                Looking forward to the next one. Aronofsky directing. The Usual Supects writer writing, and is to be loosely based on a short four episode series written by Frank Miller from the early eighties that was one of my favorites when I was a kid.

        3. All I see as a tax payer is a target rich environment.

  7. Proud, I am.

  8. What are the chances Assange gets handed off to the CIA on the tarmac at Heathrow as he is being “extradited”?

    1. We don’t care, Hillary. Whatevah Gates! That’s your mess to clean up. We run with German skinheads and commit hate crimes!

    1. “One of the women involved in the claims is a radical feminist in Sweden who is known to have a theory that men dominate their social positions through sex and she’s also been known to write a blog called ‘seven steps to legal revenge’.”

      If you’re stupid enough to fuck this woman, you deserve to go to jail.

      1. When this accusation originally broke I think that Moynihan linked to a bunch of stuff about her, and she sounded like not much fun.

        I’m remembering something about having a party for him after alleged events?

        1. Yes, it was something described as a “crayfish party.” I shudder to think what Swedish perversion that’s a euphemism for.

          1. Definitely involves that fermented herring and a late model volvo.

          2. Heh. Actually it sounds like a lot of fun:

            Crayfish party

            1. “It is culturally correct to suck the juice out of the crayfish before shelling it.” Wikipedia

              Is that what you kids are calling it now?

              1. Warty’s dong does sort of look like a crayfish. I wish he’d stop texting me pics of it. 🙁

      2. To be fair, she probably didn’t bring all of this up when they met at the bar. If you fuck that girl knowing she’s a cross between Gloria Allred and Valerie Solanis, I agree with your opinion.

      3. If you’re stupid enough to fuck this woman, you deserve to go to jail.

        I don’t know, Warty… she’s pretty good looking for a feminist.

        1. I’d hit it, but not at the risk of being dragged in front of a judge because everything didn’t go as she planned.

          1. Free love isn’t free.

          1. Actually, I thought your second pic shows her to be more pleasant, albeit a tad more plain. The first screams “pissed off at all men everywhere.”

            1. I don’t mind my women a little bitchy. She’s got a smoky Deborah Harry thing going on in the first pic. In the second, she looks like she’d try to talk to you in broken English for an hour about the crippling effects of her lactose intolerance.

              1. Is that her way of saying she doesn’t swallow?

      4. If you’re man enough to fuck that woman you deserve a medal and knighthood.

    2. one of the victims:
      While a research assistant at a local university she had not only been the protegee of a militant feminist ?academic, but held the post of ‘campus sexual equity officer’.

      How did my college get along without a sexual equity officer?

      Can i rectroactively lodge a complaint because the guy across the hall got way more tail than me, and we need to “spread the wealth around” a bit now?

      1. Mine didn’t need one. Everyone who doesn’t get laid at Florida State has to be missing the required parts. It’s a fact.

    3. So while I agree that it’s unfair to question rape accusations simply because the accuser is a feminist, authoring a blog post entitled “Seven Steps to Legal Revenge” is just a little bit of a red flag…

        1. In fact, the current prosecutor, Marianne Ny, who re-opened the case against Assange, has been active in the proposed reforms of Swedish rape laws that would, if passed, involve an investigation of whether an imbalance in power between two people could void one person’s insistence that the sex was consensual.

          Talk about government-induced cock-block.

          1. Under that idea, it would be possible to rape someone and not even realize it. Yet, the notion that it is social conservatives who want to end sex abounds here.

      1. The irony of the Western liberal male. You would be better off living under ayatollahs than the feminist to whom you have handed over your legal system and social mores.

        When heterosexual intercourse is outlawed, only serial rapist who don’t leave witnesses will have any fun.

    4. Naturally, to Jezebel the actual claims and their absurdity is not an issue. The only issue is whether or not pointing out the absurdity of those claims and the legal theory supporting those claims will Discourage Other Victims.

      Because to Jezebel the truth or falsehood and sense or nonsense of individual claims is not important; all that’s important is the Message That Sends.

      Fuck those cunts.

      1. FWIW, there are some pretty well thought out dissenting comments to that post.

      2. “Fuck those cunts.”\

        Good luck.

        1. I don’t like to fuck angry. So I guess I’d have to pass even in the unlikely event that I got anywhere.

    5. It’s ironic, or something, that he was taken down not by some CIA plot, but by a couple jealous fans who are way too old to not understand that a one night stand is not how men express commitment.

      1. he was taken down not by some CIA plot, but by a couple jealous fans

        It can be both, you know. Something/somebody changed the “victims'” minds well after the fact.

    6. I’m curious, is it considered rape in Sweden if a woman lies about being on the pill?

      1. That was exactly my thought. It’s an equivalent level of “wow, if you did that deliberately you’re a scumbag, but it really isn’t a crime, now is it?”-ness.

        1. Assuming they really are going to try him on this and it’s not just a way for the US to get a hold of him…

          From what we know, there is a huge range of possibilities about what went down. I have a stricter notion of what constitutes consent than most, but there is still many ways that this could be an honest disagreement that doesn’t rise to the level of a crime. It seems like it’s going to hinge on Swedish law, which sounds pretty weighted toward the accusers to me.

          1. I am more on the caveat emptor side when no violence or threat of violence is involved. Having sex with someone you don’t know/trust is kind of an inherently risky act for both parties, and it’s not possible to legislate that away. And it’s especially shitty to legislate it in a way that privileges one party over the other.

          2. I’m with Dagny on this one. If you show up at Kolbe’s door at one in the morning you should expect to be fucked like you just got fucked by a basket ball player and not a romance novel pirate who ties you up in a chair, blind folds you, feeds you chocolate dipped strawberries while you cum at the mere feel of his husky breath against your neck and breast. Wait, what are we talking about, again?

            1. Freud is spinning in his grave.

  9. Is there ever a point where Joe Lieberman would say “No, I don’t think the government can do that”?

    1. Senator, you are under arrest.

    2. Only if Congress was to try and censure him.

    3. The point at which someone proposes cutting off aid to Israel.

  10. Easy to forget, but had 2000 gone the other way, this guy would likely have been vice president as recently as two years ago. That just never stops being funny to me, regardless of the perspective from which I attempt to consider it.

    1. Joltin’ Joe is yet more proof that we get the government we deserve. I’m still trying to figure out what exactly was so goddamned horrible that we deserved this.

      1. Karmic justice for our foreign policy?

        1. Fuck that, it’s not MY policy!

      2. Does the 1st Amendment really cover foreign citizens on foreign soil?

        No, didn’t think so, otherwise we should send Free Speech troops to China.

        1. Cartoon character day on H’n’R apparently.

          Harry, thought you could use a little help with your legal confusion there.


        2. First amendment covers the US government. The right to free speech is universal, which includes foreign citizens on foreign soil.

          The first says Congress shall “make no laws” abridging it. Generally, I wouldnt think congress could make a law covering foreign soil in general, but if they claim that power, they still cant abridge free speech.

          1. First amendment covers the US government. The right to free speech is universal, which includes foreign citizens on foreign soil.


            1. Mr. Realpolitik? I thought you were dead, or you got a sex change. I can’t remember which. Not like you really matter. You just jaw jaw, ‘nothing to see here,’ while the officials who pay homage to you ram their fingers up their asses and then finger paint walls. No wonder you got a sex change, or killed yourself.

      3. Ahem. I didn’t vote for that piece of shit.

    2. That would be funnier than perpetual buffoon and all around oddball Joe Biden? Or even the Silky Pony?

  11. “might be legally liable”?

    I would think they would be equally liable, if not more so, being US citizens.

  12. Breaking News:

    Sen Joe Lieberman (Totalitarian, CT) will reintroduce the Alien and Sedition Act. Early reports indicate a unanimous vote for passage. Some unnamed sources are reporting enthusiastic approval for a repeal of Posse Comitatus before the end of the session.

    1. Goddamnit PB, don’t give them ideas!

    2. Don’t forget the 2010 version of the Espionage Act of 1917. No more dissent about Iraq or Afghanistan.

      1. Dissent is treason. Now, anyway.

  13. Joe Lieberman: worst senator of the decade, or worst senator of all time?

    1. Never forget,the monster that is Joe Lieberman was brought to you by William F. Buckley and his circle.,_Jr.

      Weicker’s tense relations with establishment Republicans may have roots in receiving strong support from President Nixon in his 1970 Senate bid, support repaid in the eyes of his critics by a vehement attack on the White House while serving on the Watergate Committee. Later, his relations with the Bush family soured, and the brother of then Vice President Bush (Prescott Bush, Jr.) made a short-lived bid against Weicker to gain the 1982 Republican Senate nomination. Finally, conservative animus spilled into overt support for Joe Lieberman in 1988, both from national sources such as National Review (publisher William F. Buckley, Jr., and his brother, former New York Senator James Buckley, both endorsed and campaigned for Lieberman in 1988), but more importantly, from rank-and-file Connecticut Republicans irate with Weicker’s effort to make the local party more liberal and prevent the nomination of conservatives to state office, and the poor showing of Weicker-backed candidates in the 1986 elections. Weicker was defeated in the 1988 election by less than 1% of the vote, owing in large part to defections by Republicans to Lieberman.

      Weicker, then, was still infinitely preferable to Leiberman unless expanding the warfare state is the only thing you give a damn about.

    2. Lieberman serves with Schumer.

      Schumer is pretty tough competition for anyone who wants to prove that they’re bad at being a Senator.

    3. Dianne Fienstein would give him a run for his money. There is absolutely no limit to government power that either recognizes.

  14. I’m thinking falling off a balcony, or maybe down the elevator shaft. It’s a UN specialty.


    1. I get it!

  15. I think Assange is just bad in bed. Women never cause these sorts of problems in public if you pacify their pussies well enough.

  16. Aw shucks, fellas.

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