WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could be charged under US Espionage ActNovember 30th, 2010 - 2:17 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, Nov 30 (ANI): Julian Assange, the founder of the whistleblower website ‘WikiLeaks’ that released thousands of US State Department’s secret documents on Sunday, is under the scanner of investigators who are trying to figure out whether or not he had violated criminal laws, and could even be charged under the Espionage Act, according to sources familiar with the inquiry.
The Washington Post quoted Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. as saying that the Justice Department and Pentagon are conducting “an active, ongoing criminal investigation.’
On being asked how the United States could prosecute Assange, who is an Australian citizen, Holder said: “Let me be very clear, it is not saber rattling. To the extent there are gaps in our laws. We will move to close those gaps, which is not to say . . . that anybody at this point, because of their citizenship or their residence, is not a target or a subject of an investigation that’s ongoing.”
Others familiar with the probe said that the FBI is examining everyone who came into possession of the documents, including those who gave the materials to ‘WikiLeaks’ and also the organization itself.
According to former prosecutors, prosecutions involving leaked classified information are difficult because the Espionage Act is a 1917 statute that preceded Supreme Court cases that expanded First Amendment protections. The government also would have to persuade another country to turn over Assange, who is outside the United States, the paper said.
However the sources have claimed that charges could be filed under the act, adding that the U.S. attorney’s office in Alexandria, which in 2005 brought Espionage Act charges, is involved in the effort.
The Pentagon is leading the investigation and it remains unclear whether any additional charges would be brought in the military or civilian justice systems, the paper added.
Earlier this year, an Army intelligence analyst Professor Bradley Manning, who is suspected of being the source of the WikiLeaks documents, was arrested by the military. (ANI)
- Bailed Assange preparing for 'extremely serious' US espionage charges - Dec 17, 2010
- Wikileaks investigators fail to link Assange to prime suspect Bradley Manning - Jan 26, 2011
- US seeks to build case for conspiracy by WikiLeaks - Dec 16, 2010
- Wikileaks' Assange backed by 3 influential Americans against espionage charges - Dec 14, 2010
- US targets Twitter to trap Assange over 'secret diplomatic cables' revelations - Feb 15, 2011
- Swedish prosecutor seeks arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Assange - Nov 18, 2010
- Sexual assault probe against Wikileaks' founder begins - Aug 25, 2010
- WikiLeaks founder Assange fights calls to step down - Sep 09, 2010
- US might charge Wikileaks founder Assange under Espionage Act - Dec 11, 2010
- Britain threatening to take Assange by force: Ecuador - Aug 16, 2012
- WikiLeaks disclosures involve 3000 cables from Delhi to Washington - Nov 29, 2010
- Harassment probe against Wikileaks' founder begins (Second Lead) - Aug 26, 2010
- End witch-hunt against WikiLeaks: Assange urges US - Aug 19, 2012
- Wikileaks founder seeks residency in Sweden, probe on - Sep 01, 2010
- WikiLeaks founder Assange 'unlikely' to be extradited to US - Dec 08, 2010
Tags: act charges, amendment protections, army intelligence, australian citizen, classified information, criminal investigation, espionage act, first amendment, gaps, intelligence analyst, julian assange, justice department, justice systems, prosecutions, prosecutors, secret documents, supreme court cases, target, washington post, wikileaks