, 10 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
A few quick thoughts about the Assange indictment—this is a worst-case, nightmare, mayday scenario for First Amendment enthusiasts 1/
The theories for liability rest heavily on Assange’s relationship with Manning and his tendency to encourage Manning to continue to bring WL material. 2/
imo the relationship between Assange and Manning is not readily distinguishable from many reporter-source relationships cultivated over a period of time. I’m curious if journalists feel differently. 3/
I recall, for instance, the outcry that resulted when Fox reporter James Rosen was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the prosecution of Stephen Kim—a designation based largely on his flattery and pursuit of Kim as a source. 4/
Newsflash: reporters suck up to sources all the time. What does the government mean when it suggests that encouraging sources to disclose information is a criminal conspiracy? I suspect this language will make journalists nervous. As it should. 5/
So this suggests that liability might be predicated on relationships or activities that look an awful lot like newsgathering. But then there’s the theory of liability predicated on Assange’s failure to redact truthful information—a failure to act like an editor, in other words.
This, too, ought to make us nervous, because it suggests liability is related to WL’s lack of editorial responsibility—a mushy and subjective area. 6/
The media bar (and many journalists) breathed a sigh of relief when the initial indictment was handed down. Many thought that the CFAA charges initially filed reflected conduct that was distinct from what journalists ordinarily do. 7/
I tend to think that this distinction is increasingly untenable. For the reasons why, see @JameelJaffer & @benwizner on this issue, who put it better than I ever could: justsecurity.org/63595/assange-… 8/
@JameelJaffer @benwizner Anyway, today whatever cautious optimism I had went up in flames! Fin.
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