Whether you agree with what Wikileaks’ Julian Assange did is not relevant to the question of whether the publisher broke laws by making sensitive information about some governments public.
Assange, like The New York Times, The Washington Post, Breitbart and The Daily Caller, is a publisher. The U.S. government has no power to intrude on Assange’s right to do what he did. Assange didn’t steal the information as far as we know, he simply published it after another person took it and handed the data over.
At present the BBC said Assange is seeking asylum in the Ecuador embassy in London. Sweden wants to extradite Assange on allegations of sex crimes that may be nothing more than trumped up charges. Assange, for good reason, fears Sweden might extradite him to the U.S. where the Obama administration might attempt to prosecute him.
There’s a twisted irony in the fact that not a single leaker among the legions of top professionals hired by President Barack Obama as part of the White House assembly has been questioned or charged. Nor have various Big Media who have published sensitive information.
Even Vice President Joe Biden leaked info, making details of the takedown of Osama bin Laden public, potentially endangering the lives of the troops who participated. Media made little of the subsequent shootdown of a helicopter carrying SEALs from the same unit involved in the bin Laden operation, but media would’ve blasted a Republican vice president for doing what Biden did.
After the Biden leak, Big Media picked up the meme, acting as advocates for Obama's reelection.
President George W. Bush faced criticism because of leaks from his administration. Do a search in news archives with the words leaks white house george bush and approximately 5,000 results will be returned. Most of those links will go to articles condemning Bush who was assailed over the leaking of a CIA employee’s name although her status as a covert operative was questioned.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) took a hard line approach. ABC News (radio-Australia) said:
“Senator Chuck Schumer says it shows the President was prepared to reveal classified information for political gain, and he's branded George W. Bush a hypocrite. Now, the President has said that he'd fire anyone who leaked this kind of information, but it now seems that he authorised leaks just like this in the first place…The American people deserve the truth.”
Schumer hasn’t branded Obama a hypocrite, although many conservative pundits suggested Obama’s leaks are purely self-serving. Big media had a field day over the alleged Bush leaks.
Meanwhile, Obama has clamped down on the release of documents related to his Justice Department’s ‘Fast and Furious’ gunwalking operation. Obama used executive privilege to stop the release of documents, sending a signal the White House knew about the operation. It’s doubtful the president’s staffers will leak anything about that.
Big Media has downplayed Fast and Furious, acting as de facto ally in a possible White House coverup. Fast and Furious was implicated in Border Patrol agent Brian Terry's death. The US Report raised questions about Terry's death and U.S. government policy shortly after he was murdered.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/June 20, 2012)