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2/19/21 Ben Wizner on the Dangerous Precedent of the Assange Prosecution

2/19/21 Ben Wizner on the Dangerous Precedent of the Assange Prosecution

Scott talks to Ben Wizner of the ACLU about the ongoing Julian Assange saga. Assange’s attempted prosecution under the Espionage Act is practically unprecedented, says Wizner. While it’s true that many leakers of government secrets have been charged for violations of secrecy agreements, no journalist or publisher has ever been successfully prosecuted for putting those secrets out to the public. The Obama administration considered going after Assange, but realized that to do so would set a precedent that would also encapsulate the New York Times, the Washington Post and any other outlet that claims to conduct national security journalism. The Trump administration, on the other hand, apparently wasn’t concerned with that problem, and went after Assange anyway. Wizner and Scott just hope that mainstream journalists will realize what a problem it would be if Assange were convicted, not just for their livelihoods, but for American liberal democracy as we know it.

Discussed on the show:

Ben Wizner is an American lawyer, writer, and civil liberties advocate with the American Civil Liberties Union. Follow him on Twitter @benwizner.

This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: The War State, by Mike Swanson; Tom Woods’ Liberty Classroom;; Photo IQ; Green Mill Supercritical; Zippix Toothpicks; and Listen and Think Audio.

Shop Libertarian Institute merch or donate to the show through Patreon, PayPal or Bitcoin: 1DZBZNJrxUhQhEzgDh7k8JXHXRjYu5tZiG.

About Scott Horton

Scott Horton is director of the Libertarian Institute, editorial director of, host of Antiwar Radio on Pacifica, 90.7 FM KPFK in Los Angeles, California and podcasts the Scott Horton Show from He's the author of the 2021 book Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism, the 2017 book, Fool's Errand:Time to End the War in Afghanistan, editor of the 2019 book The Great Ron Paul: The Scott Horton Show Interviews 2004–2019 and the 2022 book Hotter Than The Sun: Time to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. He’s conducted more than 5,800 interviews since 2003. Scott lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, Larisa Alexandrovna Horton.

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