One of the more frustrating things about the press's reaction to Wikileaks was that so many of them tried to shy away from the fact that the same laws that protected them as journalists almost certainly protected Wikileaks as well -- and any legal attack on the organization or someone like Julian Assange could come back to haunt the journalists themselves. So it's nice to see NY Times executive editor Bill Keller (who has detailed his contentious relationship
with Wikileaks and Assange) finally come out and say that he would be alarmed by any legal action taken against Wikileaks
"It's very hard to conceive of a prosecution of Julian Assange that wouldn't stretch the law in a way that would be applicable to us," said Keller. "Whatever one thinks of Julian Assange, certainly American journalists, and other journalists, should feel a sense of alarm at any legal action that tends to punish Assange for doing essentially what journalists do. That is to say, any use of the law to criminalize the publication of secrets."
The panel, where this was being discussed, also included former Assistant Attorney General Jack Goldsmith (now a Harvard Law Professor) who has spoken out in the past saying that he believes Wikileaks is legal. He noted that any lawsuit would be very difficult to pull off. He still thinks the administration will try
to bring a lawsuit, but he expects that it will eventually fail in the courts. I'm still hopeful that the administration recognizes the likelihood of failure in any lawsuit and recognizes the dreadful legacy it will leave in suing an organization for publishing leaks.