2010-12-17 The House Judiciary Committee on WikiLeaks

Yesterday, the US House Judiciary Committee hosted a panel of Constitutional Law and national security scholars to look at the question of whether Wikileaks or Julian Assange could or should be prosecuted for publishing leaked data from the US. The three and a quarter hour hearing is available here, and an article has been posted about it today by Matt Schafer on Lippmann Would Roll.

LWR’s overall verdict was as follows:

When all was said and done, the witnesses seemed to agree, in part, that the government is overclassifying information, the Espionage Act of 1917 is likely unconstitutional, the SHIELD Act, proposed recently by Sen. Joe Lieberman [I-CT], rests on a shaky constitutional footing also, and it is important that the legislature not overreact to the WikiLeaks cables. …

Almost all witness cited flaws within the Espionage Act, while the consensus on whether WikiLeaks is protected by the First Amendment did not enjoy a similar consensus. With all witnesses having testified, four argued that Wikileaks is protected by the Constitution, two argued that it should be prosecuted, and witness Stephen Vladeck abstained from making a determination on WikiLeaks.

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