Journalism Is Not a Crime, by Laura Poitrus

A rare article from a mainstream journalist recognizing that what the British and American governments are doing to Julian Assange is a direct threat to all journalists and the First Amendment. From Poitrus at dnyuz.com:

I am guilty of violating the Espionage Act, Title 18, U.S. Code Sections 793 and 798. If charged and convicted, I could spend the rest of my life in prison.

This is not a hypothetical. Right now, the United States government is prosecuting a publisher under the Espionage Act. The case could set a precedent that would put me and countless other journalists in danger.

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I confess that I — alongside journalists at The Guardian, The Washington Post and other news organizations — reported on and published highly classified documents from the National Security Agency provided by the whistle-blower Edward Snowden, revealing the government’s global mass surveillance programs. This reporting was widely recognized as a public service.

The Espionage Act defines the unauthorized possession or publication of “national defense” or classified information as a felony. The law was originally enacted during World War I to prosecute “spies and saboteurs.” It does not allow for a public interest defense, which means a jury is barred from taking into account the difference between a whistle-blower exposing government crimes to the press, and a spy selling state secrets to a foreign government.

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