Assange Indicted by DOJ on 18 Counts of Violating Espionage Act

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The Justice Department has indicted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with 18 counts of violating the Espionage Act after previously only indicting him on one count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.

The charges reportedly relate to Assange’s connection to former U.S. Army soldier Chelsea Manning who was convicted of violating the Espionage Act in 2013.

Because the Espionage Act usually applies to government employees like Manning, free-speech advocates are alarmed by the move to use the law against Assange.

Assange’s WikiLeaks called the act “the end of national security journalism and the first amendment.”

Fellow whistleblower Edward Snowden said, “The Department of Justice just declared war – not on Wikileaks, but on journalism itself. This is no longer about Julian Assange: This case will decide the future of media.”

Many journalists from both sides of the political aisle have noted the dangerous precedent set by the decision as seen in the following tweets: