Assange Could Face Espionage Act Charges

Ecuador, meanwhile, offers WikiLeaks founder residency
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 30, 2010 8:38 AM CST
Assange Could Face Espionage Act Charges
In this Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010 file picture founder of the WikiLeaks website, Julian Assange, speaks during a press conference in London.   (AP Photo/Lennart Preiss/File)

(Newser) – The US government is trying to pin Julian Assange and his WikiLeaks cohorts with charges under the Espionage Act—a 1917 law that predated various Supreme Court cases expanding First Amendment protections. The FBI is examining everyone who came into possession of the State Department cables that leaked yesterday, sources tell the Washington Post. The Justice Department has also warned that media organizations could be prosecuted for printing leaked information, though experts think that’s unlikely.

Of course, first the US will have to get its hands on Assange. Ecuador has offered the roving provocateur residency “without any problem and without any conditions,” a deputy foreign minister announced yesterday. “We are going to try and invite him to Ecuador to freely present … the information and documentation that he has,” he said, according to a BBC translation, adding that the country is “very concerned” about American activities Assange has revealed. Sweden turned down a residency request from Assange earlier this year. (Read more Julian Assange stories.)

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