WikiLeaks, The Espionage Act, and the First Amendment: The Law, Politics, and Policy of Prosecuting Julian Assange

Tuesday, January 11, 2011
12:00 PM - 02:00 PM
American University Washington College of Law, Room 603
4801 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC

The ongoing controversy surrounding WikiLeaks, its enigmatic founder Julian Assange, and its publication of hundreds of thousands of secret government documents raises a complex and interlocking set of legal and political questions about the line between government secrecy and free speech. Can the government use the sweeping—but vague—Espionage Act of 1917 to prosecute non-citizens for conduct that takes place outside the United States? Does the Espionage Act even apply to individuals who simply retransmit information that is already in the public domain? Does the First Amendment protect the right of individuals to publish such information? Does it protect the right of newspapers to do so? Is there a difference between disclosures of this information by WikiLeaks, as compared to the New York Times? Should there ever be circumstances in which a federal statute (or the Constitution itself) protects the disclosure of secret governmental information the publication of which is in the public good? In this roundtable discussion, a group of experts from both WCL’s faculty and the Washington legal community will take up these questions, among others, as they consider the case for (or against) prosecuting Julian Assange in a U.S. federal court.


WCL Alumni, AU & WCL Students, Faculty & Staff – no charge
General Public - No Charge
(registration is required)

For further information, please contact:
Office of Special Events & Continuing Legal Education
American University Washington College of Law
Phone: 202.274.4075; Fax: 202.274.4079; or


Register for this event

Founders Events Listing