Snowden Calls on Trump to Drop Case Against WikiLeaks, Assange
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is calling on President Donald Trump to drop the U.S. governmentâs ongoing investigation into WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.
In aÂ letter signed by Snowden as well as hundreds of others Trump is urged to end the pursuit against the anti-secrecy organization, in addition toÂ dropping any charges against its members.
âWe are journalists, activists and citizens from the United States and around the world who care about press freedom and are writing to you in response to the latest threat of prosecution against WikiLeaks for its journalistic work,â the letter, hosted by the Courage Foundation, a whistleblower advocacy organization, states. âWe ask you to immediately close the Grand Jury investigation into WikiLeaks and drop any charges against Julian Assange and other Wikileaks staff members which the Department of Justice is planning.â
The case against WikiLeaks stems back to at least 2010 when the organization published more than 250 million classified cables fromÂ 250 US embassies around the world.
âThis threat to WikiLeaks escalates a long-running war of attrition against the great virtue of the United States â free speech,â the letter continues. âThe Obama Administration prosecuted more whistleblowers than all presidents combined and opened a Grand Jury investigation into WikiLeaks that had no precedent.â
Last month numerous reportsÂ statedÂ the Trump administration was looking into charges against Assange and his organization in retaliation forÂ numerous leaks such as âVault 7,â a cache of CIA documents concerning the agencyâs offensive cyber capabilities.
Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in early April, CIA Director Mike Pompeo referred to WikiLeaks as a ânon-state hostile intelligence service.â
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions also said during a press conference that month that WikiLeaks would be a âpriorityâ when asked about the DOJâs views on arresting Assange.
âWeâve already begun to step up our efforts and whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail,â Sessions said.
When asked his opinion shortly afterÂ on Sessionsâ comments regarding an arrest of Assange, Trump stated: âItâs OK with me.â
âIt now appears the US is preparing to take the next step â prosecuting publishers who provide the âcurrencyâ of free speech, to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson,â the letter to Trump adds. âIt is reported that charges, including conspiracy, theft of government property and violating the Espionage Act are being considered against members of WikiLeaks, and that charging WikiLeaks Editor, Julian Assange, is now a priority of the Department of Justice.â
âA threat to WikiLeaksâ work â which is publishing information protected under the First Amendment â is a threat to all free journalism. If the DOJ is able to convict a publisher for its journalistic work, all free journalism can be criminalised.â
Barry Pollack, a lawyer for Julian Assange, told CNN last month that his client has thus far not been contacted by the DOJ about possible charges.
âWeâve had no communication with the Department of Justice and they have not indicated to me that they have brought any charges against Mr. Assange,â Pollack said. âTheyâve been unwilling to have any discussion at all, despite our repeated requests, that they let us know what Mr. Assangeâs status is in any pending investigations. Thereâs no reason why Wikileaks should be treated differently from any other publisher.â
Originally Published ByÂ Infowars.com