Vast and Pernicious Surveillance State Unlikely to Prosecute Julian Assange

The Washington Postreported today that the U.S. Justice Department will not, in fact, pursue charges against Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder and Ecuadorian embassy shut-in.

The Justice Department has all but concluded it will not bring charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for publishing classified documents because government lawyers said they could not do so without also prosecuting U.S. news organizations and journalists, according to U.S. officials.

The officials stressed that a formal decision has not been made, and a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks remains impaneled, but they said there is little possibility of bringing a case against Assange, unless he is implicated in criminal activity other than releasing online top-secret military and diplomatic documents.

Clearly this doesn’t fit into Glenn Greenwald’s so-called “war against whistleblowers” narrative, but rest assured Greenwald and his disciples will find something else to whine about regarding this case.

My concern, however, is that this will serve as precedent for allowing more document dumps via other websites posing as journalism outlets. As I’ve been writing for some time now, there’s an eerie blurring of the line between hacking and journalism, and refusing to prosecute Assange adds fuel to that movement.

(ht @Shoq)

Bob Cesca is the host of the Bob Cesca Show podcast, a twice weekly political talk show. He’s also a contributor to Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.