DOJ Is Still Investigating Wikileaks
from the that's-a-hell-of-a-long-investigation dept
It’s no secret that many in the US government would love to find a way to charge Wikileaks and Julian Assange with criminal activities for reporting on leaks. However, as many have pointed out, doing so would create a firestorm, because it’s difficult to see how what Wikileaks did is any different than what any news publication would do in publishing leaked documents. The attack on press freedom would be a major problem. Still, the Justice Department has spent years trying to come up with any way possible to charge Assange with a crime. They even tortured Chelsea Manning and then offered her a deal if she lied and claimed that she “conspired” with Assange to release the State Department cables. That didn’t work. Even as the DOJ couldn’t produce any evidence that Manning and Assange conspired, the Defense Department insisted it had to be true. Last year, however, there were finally reports that the DOJ was just about ready to admit that it had no legal case against Assange, with officials effectively admitting that it would be tantamount to suing a newspaper.
But… apparently the DOJ’s investigation still isn’t over. As Marcy Wheeler noted, a FOIA request by EPIC concerning the DOJ’s investigation into Wikileaks supporters has been rejected, because the DOJ’s investigation of Wikileaks is still not closed. In fact, the judge notes that there are “at least two investigations” still going on — the one on Wikileaks itself, and Chelsea Manning’s appeal. On the Wikileaks investigation:
The second type of enforcement proceeding, generally, is the DOJ’s civilian criminal/national security investigation(s) into the unauthorized disclosure of classified information that was published on the WikiLeaks website. The investigation of the unauthorized disclosure is a multi-subject investigation and is still active and ongoing. While there have been developments in the investigation over the last year, the investigation generally remains at the investigative stage. It is this second category of enforcement proceeding that is actually more central to defendants’ Exemption 7(A) withholdings in this case.
So, despite basically admitting last year that there is no case, the government has not yet given up that it can find something to pin on Assange and “there have been developments in the investigation over the last year.” This is an investigation that has been going on for about four years already. It would appear that at least some folks at the DOJ are still obsessed with finding some way to charge Assange with some crime, just because.