WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may soon find himself facing charges from the Justice Department for releasing classified information, according to a CNN report.
The department has run up against First Amendment obstacles in its quest to prosecute Assange for publishing classified documents pilfered by Chelsea Manning and more recently information that revealed the hacking tools and methods used by the CIA.
Former Deputy Secretary of State Rick Stengel, the past managing editor of Time magazine, said on MSNBC that the government may be mulling charging Assange for, in some cases, instigating leaks.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) warned that going after Assange could compromise press freedom. “Prosecuting WikiLeaks would set a dangerous precedent that the Trump administration would surely use to target other news organizations,” the ACLU tweeted.
Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept criticized the alleged efforts of prosecutors. “Assange is not American and has never stepped foot in the U.S.,” Greenwald tweeted. “This is all grounded in U.S. self-perception as world ruler.”
It is unlikely that Assange would voluntarily leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London – where he’s been holed up for nearly five years to avoid extradition to Sweden – to face charges in the U.S.