Well, I have to admit that I’m amazed, but not surprised, that the Trump administration is not keeping its promise to have Attorney General Jeff Sessions appoint an independent investigator to investigate Hillary Clinton, but instead, they are preparing charges and seeking to arrest Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange.
During the Obama administration, it was thought it would be difficult to bring charges against Assange and Wikileaks for posting files that were taken by former US Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning. Part of the issue was that they would also have to go after outlets like The New York Times, as well as other media sites and publications, which would then border or acting against the First Amendment, which prevents Congress from writing law to abridge the press. Since no law can be written, no law can be enforced.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo hypocritically said that Wikileaks “directed Chelsea Manning to intercept specific secret information, and it overwhelmingly focuses on the United States.”
“It’s time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: A non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia,” Pompeo added.
On Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that arresting Assange is a “priority.”
“We are going to step up our effort and already are stepping up our efforts on all leaks,” he said. “This is a matter that’s gone beyond anything I’m aware of. We have professionals that have been in the security business of the United States for many years that are shocked by the number of leaks and some of them are quite serious. So yes, it is a priority. We’ve already begun to step up our efforts and whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail.”
“We’ve had no communication with the Department of Justice and they have not indicated to me that they have brought any charges against Mr. Assange,” said Assange’s lawyer, Barry Pollack. “They’ve been unwilling to have any discussion at all, despite our repeated requests, that they let us know what Mr. Assange’s status is in any pending investigations. There’s no reason why WikiLeaks should be treated differently from any other publisher.”
Assange has addressed the claims made against him and he simply appealed to the fact that what Wikileaks does is consistent to the protections provided under the First Amendment.
“Quite simply, our motive is identical to that claimed by the New York Times and The Post — to publish newsworthy content,” Assange wrote in a recent op-ed in The Washington Post. “Consistent with the U.S. Constitution, we publish material that we can confirm to be true irrespective of whether sources came by that truth legally or have the right to release it to the media. And we strive to mitigate legitimate concerns, for example by using redaction to protect the identities of at-risk intelligence agents.”
In an interview with The Intercept, Assange said, “Intelligence services are in the business of developing sources, obtaining information that is not already public, analyzing it, verifying it, writing some of that up, making it accessible, and then what do they do with it?” Assange said. “They don’t publish it. The publishers? What do they do with the information? They publish it. So, the difference between a serious news organization that covers national security, or an investigative publisher, like WikiLeaks or the Intercept, or… is the end product is publishing.”
“The reason why Pompeo is launching this attack is because he understands we’re under serious exposing all sorts of illegal actions by the CIA, so he’s trying to get ahead of the publicity curve and create a preemptive defense,” he added.
“The CIA is only in the business of collecting information, kidnapping people, and assassinating people,” Assange continued.
He then took on Pompeo saying, “This is the head of the largest intelligence service in the world. He doesn’t get to make proclamations on interpretation of the law. That’s a responsibility for the courts. It’s a responsibility for Congress, and perhaps, it’s a responsibility for the Attorney General.”
Well, it appears the Attorney General is seeking to interpret something that I don’t actually see in the Constitution. If our laws apply to people in America, how in the world is Sessions seeking to hold Assange to laws that don’t exist under our Constitution?
However, Pompeo claims, “Julian Assange has no First Amendment freedoms. He’s sitting in an Embassy in London. He’s not a US citizen.”
So, Pompeo does not believe the right to expose corruption via the press, regardless of whether it is in your country or not, is not a freedom men have. Pompeo is directly opposed to those men who signed the Declaration of Independence, who declared:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.– That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…
“Never in the history of this country has a publisher been prosecuted for presenting truthful information to the public,” Ben Wizner, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, told CNN. “Any prosecution of WikiLeaks for publishing government secrets would set a dangerous precedent that the Trump administration would surely use to target other news organizations.”
The Vault 7 leaks just got a little too close to home for the CIA is all. They are continuing to look for the whistleblower who leaked those documents to Wikileaks.
So, watch for more transformations from the Trump administration in the coming days. Those who once were so supportive of Wikileaks and Julian Assange have just stabbed him in the back and sided with the likes of Barack Obama, Eric Holder and Hillary Clinton on this issue.
By the way, AG Sessions and President Trump, when will that special prosecutor be appointed that was promised to the American people.