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Journalists Worried That Assange Charges Are A Harbinger Of Things To Come

Justice Department officials assured reporters they were not targeting the press.

Morning Joe brought on national security reporter Ken Delanian to explain the new charges about Wikileaks' Julian Assange.

"We have 17 new counts tacked on to the one count that charged Assange with conspiring with Pvt. Chelsea Manning to crack a password. The new charges are much more serious because they involve the Espionage Act. They accuse Assange of inducing Manning to leak and helping her steal these hundreds of thousands of classified Iraq and Afghanistan war logs and State Department cables. But the charges cross a very important line when they also charge Assange with a crime for publishing that information," Delanian said.

"So this is the first time that the u.s. government in recent memory, in modern history, has charged a non-government employee with disseminating classified information and it's very concerning to advocates of press freedom because they fear today Assange, tomorrow the New York Times, NBC news. Publishing classified information is what journalists do every day. Now, I was on a conference call with Justice Department officials yesterday about this and they assured reporters they were not targeting the press, they believe that Julian Assange is not a journalist.

"They charged him with publishing a narrow subset of documents that included the names of confidential sources whose lives were put at risk. We all agree with that and that move was widely criticized at the time and continues to be but the issue is there are many occasions when NBC News and the New York Times and others classified public information that displeases governor officials, including the names of covert cia operatives. we feel that we have good reasons to do that and this opens the door for the government to decide whether to prosecute us, and aclu and others are very concerned about this."

So we have someone in the White House who frequently refers to the press as "the enemy of the people," but they're supposed to be reassured that these charges won't ever be used against them.

You don't suppose they'd lie, do you?

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