A reader writes:
While you appear to approvingly quote Adam Serwer’s view on an expanded Espionage Act interpretation, this view ignores the paramount role of prosecutorial discretion in America’s legal system. While pundits and fringe politicians will hyperbolize to gain attention, there’s absolutely no basis for believing that American news institutions are actually at risk of prosecution. Law professor Steve Vladeck notes that “the principal restraint on the scope of the Espionage Act vis-à-vis the media has historically been prosecutorial discretion, not the Constitution.” Reasonable people can disagree about the propriety of prosecuting Assange under the Espionage Act. Claiming that such prosecution puts the sanctity of a free press at stake, however, is a red herring that deflects attention from a legitimate debate about a man who has shown no scruples about needlessly putting innocent people’s lives at stake.