I think there are potential serious implications for free speech and freedom of the press (thread)
In my view, undoubtedly. If Assange's motives were essentially to publish information through the press (including Wikileaks) which would expose US wrongdoing then that he is plainly exercising free speech rights.
But it's not as straightforward as that, as the extradition request sits in front of that charge.
But that shouldn't stand in the way of principle.
And if people are allowed - on free speech grounds - to get away with hacking secret defence materials, that arguably puts defence at risk