Proposed Reform to US Espionage Act Would Create Public Interest Defense, by Kevin Gosztola

If this legislation was passed (it won’t be), it would be the highlight of Tulsi Gabbard’s career. From Kevin Gosztola at consoriumnews.com:

Defendants would be able to testify about their reason for engaging in the prohibited conduct, Kevin Gosztola reports. 

U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard in 2019. (Gage Skidmore, Flickr)

Legislation proposed in Congress would amend the United States Espionage Act and create a public interest defense for those prosecuted under the law.

“A defendant charged with an offense under section 793 or 798 [in the U.S. legal code] shall be permitted to testify about their purpose for engaging in the prohibited conduct,” according to a draft of the bill Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard introduced.

Such a reform would make it possible for whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, Reality WinnerTerry Albury and Daniel Hale to inform the public why they disclosed information without authorization to the press.

The legislation called the Protect Brave Whistleblowers Act is supported by Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

“If this long-overdue revision of the 1917 Espionage Act had been law half a century ago, I myself could have had a fair trial for releasing the Pentagon Papers in 1971: justice under law unavailable to me and to every other national security whistleblower indicted and prosecuted since then,” Ellsberg declared.

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