Why Prosecuting Assange Won’t Be a Walk in the Park
Baruch Weiss, a former federal prosecutor and a partner at Arnold & Porter who was involved in the AIPAC defense, explains why in an editorial today in The Washington Post. I was particularly interested in his discussion of why he believes it would be difficult to prove that Assange knew the disclosures would harm national security:
Here, Assange can make the department’s case especially difficult. Well before publishing the cables, he wrote a letter to the U.S. government, delivered to our ambassador in London, inviting suggestions for redactions. The State Department refused. Assange then wrote another letter to State, reiterating that “WikiLeaks has absolutely no desire to put individual persons at significant risk of harm, nor do we wish to harm the national security of the United States.”
In that second letter, Assange stated that the department’s refusal to discuss redactions “leads me to conclude that the supposed risks are entirely fanciful.” He then indicated that WikiLeaks was undertaking redactions on its own.
If it would be difficult to prove that Assange knew the disclosures would harm national security, it would be even more difficult to prove that he intended them to do so. Yet another reason, if you believe that Assange should be prosecuted for the disclosures, to follow Roger’s suggestion that he be prosecuted for economic crimes.