The House Judiciary Committee has announced that they will hold a hearing on the 1917 Espionage Act and its affects on cracking down on WikiLeaks next Thursday. The hearing will focus on revisions to the act to make it easier to silence the future publication of embarrassing material.
The Obama Administration is said to be hoping to use the Espionage Act to move against WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, but while the Wilson Administration had some success in using it to arrest antiwar activists its Constitutionality is severely questioned, as is its applicability to the WikiLeaks case.
The concerns that the government can’t legally stifle this sort of dissent appears to be at the center of the hearings, which will consider ways to get around the ostensible guarantee for the freedom of the press.
The Justice Department insists now that charges against Assange are not imminent, though it does seem that the administration is still pushing Sweden in the hopes of acquiring him as a detainee, even if he isn’t actually charged with anything.