Journalist Glenn Greenwald on Monday defended WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after he was charged by the Justice Department earlier this month for allegedly conspiring to hack a government computer in connection with the organization’s release of sensitive government files in 2010.
“So much of what’s in the indictment, encouraging a source to get more documents, helping a source cover her tracks in order not to be detected, are things that journalists do every single day,” Greenwald, co-founding editor at The Intercept, told hosts Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton in an appearance on Hill.TV.
“You can say journalists don’t typically help a source hack into a password in order to get you know, a better way of hiding her identity, but helping a source avoid detection is definitely something journalists are not just entitled to do, but obligated to do,” he continued.
“That’s why press freedom groups around the world are so concerned about this indictment,” he said.
Assange was expelled from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London earlier this month, and arrested by British authorities.
The Justice Department later announced that Assange has been charged with conspiring with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to “knowingly access a computer, without authorization and exceeding authorized access,” to obtain classified information that “could be used to the injury of the United States.”
Press advocacy groups have raised alarm bells around on the premise that the Assange’s arrest was not connected to the publication by WikiLeaks of classified information.
Those groups say that it’s unlikely that Assange would be charged at all if he hadn’t been responsible for releasing the documents.
— Julia Manchester
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