Source: United States House of Representatives – Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02)
Washington, DC—Today, Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and Thomas Massie (KY-04) introduced H.Res.1175, a resolution that defends the freedom of the press, noting that newsgathering activities and news organizations ability to acquire and publish information are protected under the First Amendment. The resolution calls for the United States to drop all charges and efforts to extradite Julian Assange.
“Freedom of the press is a vital function of a free democracy in which the government is accountable to the people. Julian Assange published information that exposed lies and abuses of power at the highest levels of our government. His indictment under the Espionage Act sends a chilling message to every member of the media and all Americans,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “U.S. government prosecutors now claim that any journalist or news organization that publishes classified material is liable to prosecution under the Espionage Act — which would have led to the indictment of the Washington Post for the publication of the Pentagon Papers. The Federal government’s prosecution of Julian Assange sets a dangerous precedent. All extradition efforts and charges under the Espionage Act against Julian Assange must be dropped now.”
“At a time when government officials claim the right to perform warrantless surveillance upon all American citizens, there is an urgent need to zealously guard freedom of the press and to demand government transparency and accountability. The ongoing attempts to prosecute Julian Assange threaten our First Amendment rights, and should be opposed by all who wish to safeguard our constitutional rights now and in the years to come. I join my colleague, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, in calling for an immediate end to all charges against Mr. Assange,” said Rep. Thomas Massie.
Background: In 2010, Wikileaks disclosed a cache of hundreds of thousands of State Department cables, Guantanamo Bay detainee assessments, and U.S. military reports related to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, including the disclosure of U.S. military documents that exposed war crimes against civilians in the Middle East.
On April 11, 2019, the London Metropolitan Police Service arrested Julian Assange for outstanding warrants, including a provisional warrant at the request of the United States government. The U.S. Department of Justice unsealed a March 2018 indictment against Julian Assange for violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. On May 23, 2019, a federal grand jury issued a superseding indictment adding 17 charges against Julian Assange for violation of the Espionage Act. On June 10, 2019, the United States government submitted a formal request to the United Kingdom for the extradition of Julian Assange.
U.S. government prosecutors now claim that any journalist or news organization that publishes classified material is liable to prosecution under the Espionage Act, which would have led to the indictment of news organizations for the publication of the Pentagon Papers.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has been a consistent champion of whistleblowers throughout her time in Congress.
Follow Rep. Tulsi Gabbard on social media: