News Release

From WikiLeaks to Whistleblowers: “Assault on Truth Telling”


Glenn Greenwald and Trevor Timm write in The Intercept: “The DNC’S Lawsuit Against WikiLeaks Poses a Serious Threat to Press Freedom.” Timm writes in Columbia Journalism Review: “Forget Comey and McCabe. Support FBI whistleblower Terry Albury.” Also see “The Isolation of Julian Assange Must Stop,” signed by Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges, John Pilger and others.

CHIP GIBBONS, [in D.C.] chip at, @rightsdissent
Policy and Legislative Counsel at Defending Rights & Dissent, Gibbons said today: “Our society is faced with an assault on truth telling. From the DNC’s reckless lawsuit against WikiLeaks, which could have a far reaching impact on journalists who publish newsworthy information, to the continued criminal prosecutions of whistleblowers, those in power have made it clear they will punish the messenger to keep the people in the dark.”

Defending Rights & Dissent recently published the statement “End Espionage Act Prosecutions of Whistleblowers” signed by a number of journalists, whistleblowers and activists: “We the undersigned organizations and individuals call for an end to the use of the constitutionally dubious Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers who give information to the media on matters of public concern.

“It is entirely inappropriate to use a law supposedly aimed at actual spies and saboteurs, against individuals who act in good faith to bring government misconduct to the attention of the public. Yet, we have seen this statute used with greater frequency against whistleblowers.

“Last month, the Department of Justice charged former FBI agent Terry J. Albury under the Espionage Act for alleged disclosures to the media. According to charging documents, the government alleged Albury gave two documents to the media — most likely The Intercept. Allegations by the government are just that — allegations. However, the documents in question are of immense public interest. One deals with how the FBI assesses confidential informants. The FBI’s use of confidential informants has continuously raised concerns about profiling, surveillance of First Amendment protected activity, and entrapment. This is to say nothing about the general concerns about the FBI’s confidential informant program. For example, according to documents obtained by The Intercept, the FBI, in its pursuit of informants, investigates individuals without probable cause of criminal wrongdoing and hunts for information that can be used to pressure them into becoming informants.”