The U.S. has indicted Julian Assange for encouraging his source to give more information and for trying to protect his source’s identity, what all journalist routinely do, said one of the greatest investigative journalists of our time.
Parry is writing here about the Obama administration’s attempt to indict Assange for simply doing what all investigative journalists, including Parry, do all the time: namely encourage their sources to turn over secret information even if the sources have to break the law to do so. While the Obama DOJ eventually decided against indictment because it would cross the red line of criminalizing journalism, the Trump administration has crossed that very line on the very same evidence the Obama administration rejected. This is an especially prescient and relevant article from the late founder of Consortium News, written just eight months after the release of the Collateral Murder video.
Whatever the unusual aspects of the case, the Obama administration’s reported plan to indict WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for conspiring with Army Pvt. Bradley Manning to obtain U.S. secrets strikes at the heart of investigative journalism on national security scandals.
That’s because the process for reporters obtaining classified information about crimes of state most often involves a journalist persuading some government official to break the law either by turning over classified documents or at least by talking about the secret information. There is almost always some level of “conspiracy” between reporter and source.
Contrary to what some outsiders might believe, it’s actually quite uncommon for sensitive material to simply arrive “over the transom” unsolicited. Indeed, during three decades of reporting on these kinds of stories, I can only recall a few secret documents arriving that way to me.
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