Snowden and Assange Deserve Pardons. So Do the Whistleblowers Trump Imprisoned.

The Trump administration has charged Assange under the Espionage Act for conspiring to leak classified documents. The indictment focuses on his alleged efforts to encourage former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak classified documents to him and WikiLeaks. If the Assange prosecution is successful, it will set a dangerous precedent: that journalists can be prosecuted based on their interactions with sources who provide them with government secrets.

Such a precedent could make it extremely difficult for journalists to cover military, intelligence, and related national security matters, and thus leave the public in the dark about what the government is really doing around the world.

During Trump’s four years in office, his administration has arrested and charged eight government officials in leak cases. That is almost equal to the record nine (or 10, depending on how you count) leak prosecutions conducted by the Obama administration over eight years.

Four of the leak cases during the Trump administration were connected to disclosures related to Trump, the circle of people around him, and the Trump-Russia inquiry. The Justice Department was clearly under intense pressure from Trump to go after people who leaked stories that Trump didn’t like.

theintercept Snowden and Assange Deserve Pardons. So Do the Whistleblowers Trump Imprisoned.