Profs and Pints presents: “Espionage, Press Freedom, and Assange,” with Gary Ross, assistant professor at the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security, former supervisory special agent with the Department of Homeland Security, and author of Who Watches the Watchmen? The Conflict between National Security and Freedom of the Press.
[ Advance tickets available at
Julian Assange faces extradition from England to the United States to stand trial for allegedly disclosing thousands of classified documents on Wikileaks, the Web site he founded precisely to publicize leaked information. If found guilty on each of the 18 counts contained in the federal indictment, he faces a potential sentence of more than 100 years. If extradited, he would become the first non-government insider brought to trial under the Espionage Act for the publication of national defense information. Media-rights advocates have expressed concern that the acts he is accused of committing strongly resemble many of the 'newsgathering' activities journalists regularly perform.
Do Assange's actions make him a public enemy, or a public servant? Is he a hero in the battle for government transparency, or is he a threat to democracy? What would his extradition and conviction mean for members of the media who may sometimes use similar methods?
Come hear such questions tackled by Gary Ross, who, during his 27-year career in federal law enforcement, provided oversight for all unauthorized disclosure investigations in the intelligence community and helped draft current federal policy governing unauthorized disclosures. He'll examine the probability, and desirability, of Assange being convicted of the charges against him, which include conspiring to receive national defense information (from former U.S. Army analyst Chelsea Manning), disclosing national defense information, and conspiring to gain unauthorized access to a classified government network. Particular attention will be given to the Espionage Act charges, and whether they potentially violate protections guaranteed under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
It's a talk that will give you a much better understanding of WikiLeaks, the case against Julian Assange, and one of the most vexing problems of our time, the need to find a way to uphold both national security and free speech in the Internet age. (Advance tickets: $12. Doors: $15, save $2 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself time to place any orders and get seated and settled in.)