Harvard experts analyze potential fallout of Julian Assange arrest

Friday, April 12, 2019 - 13:10 in Mathematics & Economics

Nearly a decade after Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning shared classified materials illegally downloaded from Defense Department computers with WikiLeaks, the site’s founder, Julian Assange, was arrested in London for his role in the 2010-11 disclosures. Assange, who had been eluding British law enforcement in the Ecuadorian Embassy since 2012, was taken into custody on Thursday and charged with bail jumping. He now faces possible extradition to the U.S. by the Department of Justice. In an unsealed indictment, federal prosecutors say Assange conspired with Manning to break into Defense Department computer databases and later himself tried to access the department’s computer system by decrypting the password. Assange’s lawyers claimed he is a journalist and should be afforded First Amendment protections. They said the charges set “a dangerous precedent” for journalism. To better understand the legal, national security, and journalistic tensions at issue, the Gazette spoke with Harvard faculty members Yochai Benkler, Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, and...

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