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Congress Hears Wikileaks Is 'fundamentally Different' From Media

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Kenneth Wainstein

Kenneth Wainstein

National Criminal Justice Reference Service

The Justice Department would have no problem distinguishing WikiLeaks from traditional media outlets, if it decides to charge WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with violating the Espionage Act, a former federal prosecutor told lawmakers Thursday.

"By clearly showing how WikiLeaks is fundamentally different, the government should be able to demonstrate that any prosecution here is the exception and is not the sign of a more aggressive prosecution effort against the press," said Kenneth Wainstein, former assistant attorney general on national security, during a House Judiciary Committee hearing about WikiLeaks and the Espionage Act on Thursday.

The hearing was the first to publicly address WikiLeaks. It consisted of testimony from legal scholars and attorneys as well as former Green Party presidential candidate and consumer advocate Ralph Nader. Testimony focused primarily on whether the 1917 Espionage Act should be revised to make it easier to prosecute recipients of classified information.

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