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Six years ago, British intelligence officers walked into the offices of The Guardian newspaper in London and demanded its staff destroy computers they believed stored highly classified documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
In the basement of the newspaper’s offices, editors used angle-grinders and drills to destroy the computers in an effort to render its data unusable after “weeks of tense negotiations” between the newspaper and the British government, which faced pressure from U.S. authorities to return the leaked top secret documents. The U.S. and Britain are close intelligence sharing partners. Despite the fact that there were several copies of the NSA documents — including in the U.S — the newspaper faced a threat of punitive legal action or prosecution if they declined.
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“The only way of protecting the Guardian’s team was for the paper to destroy its own computers,” said Luke Harding, a Guardian journalist.
In the years of citing this case in why press freedoms are so important, the Americans always respond: “Wait, that happened?”
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The Guardian’s situation would never happen in the U.S. It’s not uncommon for national security reporters to obtain classified information or rely on government employees providing secret information, particularly to uncover abuses of power or the law. As the only named profession in the U.S. constitution, the U.S. press is a shining example of holding the powers to account no matter what.
But the most recent charges laid against Julian Assange has put those press freedoms under threat.
Assange - Liar - Proponent - Misinformation - Shitbag
Julian Assange, widely regarded as a liar, a proponent of misinformation, and loathed by many for generally being a shitbag, has been defended by some of his biggest critics since the latest round of charges were announced against him.
Assange last week became the first person to be charged for publishing classified information under the Espionage Act, a law that predates...
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