This cannot be tolerated and it must not go unanswered. The Justice Department should immediately seek an arrest warrant for Assange and take whatever steps are necessary to bring about his extradition to the United States. For starters espionage charges should be brought against him as well as a prosecution for the unauthorized release of classified information. 

We must be clear about one thing. This case was not motivated by a desire to let the public know what its government is doing. The nature of the information released itself dispels any connection with these legitimate principles of a free and open society. Rather the clear intent of Assange was to damage the United States and its ability to conduct foreign policy. And he did so with a willful and wanton disregard for the innocent lives he has put in danger. On constitutional grounds the First Amendment should not bar prosecution in this case.

As Justices White and Stewart pointed out in their concurring opinion in New York Times v. United States (the Pentagon Papers Case) that “Prior restraints require an unusually heavy justification under the First Amendment; but failure by the Government to justify prior restraints does not measure its constitutional entitlement to a conviction for criminal publication.” The documents in this case have been released and there should be a prosecution for their publication.

The United States government has the right to conduct foreign policy—unmolested by those who would harm our country and its citizens.  Every president since Washington has recognized the need for some level of secrecy in doing so and the United States Supreme Court has affirmed such authority.  While we may have different views over the nature and extent of what should qualify for such protection, we should all be able to agree that the decision of WikiLeaks to dump thousands of classified documents into the public sphere is not a close case.  On this one we should follow the admonition of the late Senator Arthur Vandenberg that “politics should stop at the water’s edge.”  This is an assault on the security of all Americans and it should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.