Assange Charged With Violating Espionage Act

DOJ alleges the Wikileaks founder “aided and abetted” Chelsea Manning in obtaining classified documents.

Victoria Jones/Zuma Press

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is facing a new round of charges for his role in publishing tens of thousands of US government documents provided by former Army Private Chelsea Manning. The 18-count indictment, announced by the Department of Justice Thursday afternoon, charges that Assange violated the Espionage Act when he allegedly “aided and abetted [Manning] in obtaining classified information.” The DOJ had previously announced that it was charging Assange with violating computer fraud laws.

Barry Pollack, the lawyer who handles Assange’s US legal affairs, told Mother Jones Thursday that the government charged Assange for “encouraging sources to provide him truthful information and for publishing that information.” He called the initial allegations unsealed last month a “fig leaf,” adding: “These unprecedented charges demonstrate the gravity of the threat the criminal prosecution of Julian Assange poses to all journalists in their endeavor to inform the public about actions that have been taken by the US government.”

Prosecutors told reporters Thursday that they were “not charging Assange for passively obtaining classified information,” according to Politico, and added that Assange is “not a journalist.”

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.