April 28, 2017, New York – In response to recent saber rattling by Trump administration officials about prosecuting WikiLeaks and Julian Assange under the Espionage Act following WikiLeaks' publication of documents revealing the vastness and illegality of CIA malware and cybersurveillance practices, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:
Donald Trump and Steve Bannon, who have each called the mainstream press "the enemy of the American people,” run an administration that is fundamentally an enemy of transparency, facts, and democratic accountability. From that foundation, CIA Director Mike Pompeo recently called WikiLeaks and others who expose the excesses and illegalities of our national security apparatus "hostile foreign intelligence services" and "demons" that should be denied First Amendment protections. The use of the Espionage Act – a retrograde, overbroad law designed to criminalize dissent from World War I – in the hands of a menacing Trump administration is a terrifying prospect. It requires defenders of a robust free press and those who demand accountability from this government – as well as the next – to stand ready to resist the Trump administration’s efforts. Once unleashed, the Espionage Act’s silencing force will be hard to stop.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.