The Left has been up at arms over my suggestion that the Obama administration indict and arrest Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, for his illegal disclosure of more than 75,000 classified intelligence documents. Well, apparently some prominent Democrats think prosecuting Assange and WikiLeaks is a pretty good idea.
Yesterday, Sen. Charles Schumer announced he was adding new language to his proposed “media shield” legislation to ensure that the bill would not protect Assange or others involved with WikiLeaks from prosecution. “Neither WikiLeaks, nor its original source for these materials, should be spared in any way from the fullest prosecution possible under the law,” Schumer said in a statement. “Although the bill in no way shields anyone who broke the law from prosecution, we are going the extra mile to remove even a scintilla of doubt.”
The press release from his office declared that “Schumer and [Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Dianne] Feinstein are working with representatives of the newspaper industry in crafting the new language that will explicitly exclude organizations like Wikileaks — whose sole or primary purpose is to publish unauthorized disclosures of documents — from possible protection.”
The media-shield bill is a terrible idea — the problem of illegal disclosures of classified information is growing to epidemic proportions, and this bill would only make the problem worse. But it is telling that even those who want to strengthen protections for journalists here in the United States also want to exclude WikiLeaks from those protections — and advocate seeing Assange and WikiLeaks prosecuted to the full extent of the law.