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Knight Center

JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

U.S. government condemns latest WikiLeaks information release



The U.S. government is none too pleased with the latest WikiLeaks release of classified documents related to the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

The New York Times published a statement from Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell and Ambassador Dan Fried, the special envoy for closure of the Guantanamo Detention Facility, saying, “It is unfortunate that The New York Times and other news organizations have made the decision to publish numerous documents obtained illegally by Wikileaks concerning the Guantanamo detention facility. These documents contain classified information about current and former GTMO detainees, and we strongly condemn the leaking of this sensitive information."

Morrell seemed even more peeved at WikiLeaks in a personal tweet he sent out Monday, April 25: "Thx to Wikileaks we spent Easter weekend dealing w/NYT & other news orgs publishing leaked classified GTMO docs," reported Mediaite.

The government complaints come as the Justice Department is allegedly building an espionage case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In an editorial The Wall Street Journal called for the United States to "indict Mr. Assange under the Espionage Act. This battle to protect the free flow of information within the government against constant leaks is part of an information war the U.S. can't afford to lose."

In response, Ira Stoll from The Future of Capitalism blog said taking into account Assange's motives would be a "high-speed railway to tyranny." He wrote, "Restricting the Amendment's protections only to journalists who can prove they mean well and aren't too political would be an assault on First Amendment freedom that would strike right at the core of it, limiting freedom of the press only to those news organs whose motivation or politics, or the lack of them, meet with governmental approval."

Gawker speculates that Assange's slow release of documents over time -- only 80 or so of the 700-plus Guantanamo files and about 3 percent of the diplomatic cables WikiLeaks possesses have been published -- is a form of insurance -- if anything happens to Assange, more files could be made public.

Meanwhile, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, suspected of leaking classified documents to Assange, is being held at the Fort Leavenworth prison in Kansas. Earlier in April President Obama caused a stir when he said Manning, who has yet to be tried, "broke the law," Salon reported.


Other Related Headlines:
» Christian Science Monitor (For Obama, WikiLeaks' Guantanamo files come at bad time)
» Democracy Now (Daniel Ellsberg: Bradley Manning Charges Should Be Dismissed After Obama Declares Accused Army Whistleblower "Broke the Law")

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