“The most disturbing thing is that the assassination program with respect to terrorists leaked over to narcotics….they were targeting people for death for their involvement in drug trade because it was seen as funding terrorism. I could go on…”
For journalists being targeted in war zones by the US – it is “deeply troubling, a monumental criminal offense" #AssangeCase
I think it's all relevant here-- Prosecutor interrupts him to show him indictment and exactly which cables are charged
Clive: I think you're very wrong on the way American courts prosecute #AssangeCase
Stafford-Smith: To me to keep these secret is "utterly, utterly mad"
Prosecution: It is not for them to say that is not our case. If necessary I will give an undertaking from the USA to this effect.
Yeah, I didn't publish a lot of classified documents but my entire career virtually was soliciting and publishing secret information
We use all kinds of techniques to protect them, anonymity, payphones, encryption, removing fingerprints from documents, reporters do this all the time
When the Pentagon Papers were published, the government went to court and said these documents exposed war plans, ID'd CIA agents, could prolong the war.
Have you studied indictment? Yes but not most recent one that came this summer.
You'll give unbiased evidence? I'll do my best
You say in July report that reporting cited by NYT/WaPo is today the only public source of information about behind the scenes discussions about whether to prosecute? That's correct
Why not in your report? I was edited for length. But proof is in the pudding, they did not indict.
"We don't need a speech professor"
Prosecution: maybe you didn't want anyone to read it?
Prosec: wouldn't it have been fair to put in your report that there was an ongoing investigation
Lot of things could be put in or kept out. I'm not sure Assange or his lawyers would ever be convinced there'd be no charges
Feldstein: I never said the Obama admin closed the investigation, I said they decided not to charge based on First Amendment grounds.
Feldstein: That's a very confusing question, a couple of double negatives...
We'll leave it
Yes, but it's a slippery slope as to what constitutes soliciting -- sorry, you wanted yes or no, yes. Journalists not above the law.
Feldstein: I'm not a lawyer, can't give you a legal answer, but yes not immune from the law
Know of journalists in prison in the UK for hacking telephones? Yes
So we agree in the US and UK journalist can't commit crime to get govt info? yes
Prosecution interrupts: and if conspired with Manning, did Assange commit a crime?
Feldstein: it depends on the details
Feldstein: break the law, no. "Help" is where we get into squishy areas about what exactly was done
Feldstein: not that I'm aware of no
Feldstein: I understand that's what's in the indictment yes
Feldstein: I do not know what happened, there are conflicting accounts of how those releases happened, I'm not a fact witness
So difference between "NYT problem" and what Assange is indicted with? Absolutely
Feldstein: They should not have been published
Feldstein: problem with yes or no answer is the indictment brought under the Espionage Act..
No - you've just said it's not allowed to be motivated by politics. It would be naive to think that's always the case. I can explain why I think it's political if you'll let me.
So you don't know do you? I wasn't there, but I can tell you why I think it's politically motivated if you want.
So you're speculating but you've got no evidence?
Feldstein: not at all
Absolutely, it's routine for journalists covering that beat try to get info including classified info.
That they solicit that kind of info? Yes, more than solicit
Feldstein: no, and it's a very chilling prospect, because to criminalize soliciting like that is to criminalize journalism itself. #AssangeCase
How active? Prosecution objects, we didn't bring up Pentagon Papers. Judge allows question
What about journalists paying for this kind of info? Ther are tabloid newspaper that pay sources for information. Generally frowned upon but mainstream news media. Sometimes other ways, but yes it does happen.
Is that conduct prosecuted? No
Obtaining by hacking isn't protected by the First Amendment? Correct
What if the purpose of the hacking wasn't to obtain the info, what if the purpose of the hacking was to make it more difficult to ID the source?
And Manning's sentence was commuted. So those were the actions taken or not taken. Going back over the prosecution's issues with quoting the WaPo articles previously
Feldstein: yes, and the only attempts to prosecute journalists in the past were obviously highly political.