It was widely expected that today’s House Judiciary Committee hearing on WikiLeaks would center around ways to legalize the censorship of WikiLeaks and other media outlets for covering the embarrassing release of State Department cables. The reality was quite a bit more subdued.
Instead, the committee heard from a number of experts that there were major constitutional issues related to any possible move against WikiLeaks, and warnings against “rash” actions against the whistleblower. Committee members likewise repeatedly cited the importance of the First Amendment, a refreshing attitude considering most recent comment has centered around jailing and or assassinating WikiLeaks members.
At the same time the Justice Department was there, doing what the Justice Department does, which is arguing for massive increases in power. Today, they insisted that charging WikiLeaks would have no impact on freedom of the press because they are “fundamentally different” from the traditional media. Of course neither the First Amendment nor federal law makes any distinction between traditional media or anyone else, and freedom of the press doesn’t simply mean freedom of the traditional, approved-of press.
Despite officials being riled up about the WikiLeaks, Vice President Joe Biden also reported today that the leaks have done “no substantive damage” to US foreign policy. Quite the contrary, he insists only that some are “embarrassing.” This too may give the House pause, as it seems like dramatically curtailing personal freedom to spare Biden et al some embarrassment is going to be a tough sell.
Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz
- Afghan High Peace Council Says Talk of US Troop Withdrawal Is Premature - October 15th, 2018
- US Companies Back Out of Saudi Events as Tensions Mount - October 15th, 2018
- Saudi Embassy in DC Cancels Annual Diplomatic Reception - October 15th, 2018
- Report: Saudis Preparing to Admit Journalist Died During 'Interrogation' - October 15th, 2018
- Taliban Kills Dozens of Afghan Forces in Attacks on Checkpoints - October 14th, 2018