Thursday, January 12, 2012

We must change our laws to get Assange

Heritage Foundation recently held a public panel discussion about WikiLeaks. The panelists included Cully Stimson, former Asst Deputy Sec of Defense on Detainee Affairs, and Paul Rosenzweig, former Asst Deputy for Homeland Security.

Staff have transcribed former Asst Deputy of Homeland Security Paul Rosenzweig's statement from the 2 min 20 sec mark:
It seems to me that if we're going to go down the road of trying to fix our espionage laws to fix issues like Assange and terrorism, the right way is not to try and shoehorn a change that we're not quite sure of its second order and collateral effects into a statute that actually is pretty effective under the terms that it is in. I mean I'm not going to be an advocate of not amending the espionage laws to get at Assange -- I think it's a reasonable thing for Congress to want to do. I would be an advocate for them to take a little more time, step back, and think about all of the categories and types of information, and all the different means by which information is disclosed. And see if there isn't a way -- I believe there is -- of drawing distinctions between mainstream media organizations who report news and add value and things like WikiLeaks which I tend to think of as just a means of communications as a telephone directory. I mean they're just putting information out. Nobody would say a telephone directory is a news organization...
We agree with Paul Rosenzweig. The key is for Congress to carefully work out how to support the mainstream corporate media while sticking it to WikiLeaks.  This is legislation that cannot be rushed but will require the full attention of media and entertainment industry lobbyists.

Former Asst Deputy Sec of Defense on Detainee Affairs Cully Stimson went on to suggest that we have reason to believe "WikiLeaks has a lot more information to divulge" and presumably changes to the espionage laws could be made in time.  The bottom line is we have to get Assange before he can liberate any more of the information we are keeping from the public.  
See also this post about the Espionage Act of 1917.

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Dr. Rebecca Wolf
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United States Department of Fear