I was struck today by the confluence of these two events: Trump orders intel agencies to assist Barr with review of Russia probe
President Donald Trump has ordered all major US intelligence agencies to assist Attorney General William Barr in his review of surveillance issues surrounding Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, delegating significant authority to Barr to declassify intelligence materials as the attorney general sees fit.
and Trump Justice Department Crosses New Line, Charges Assange With Publishing U.S. Secrets
In a stunning escalation of the Trump administrationís war on the press, the Justice Department has indicted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for revealing government secrets under the Espionage Act. Itís the first time a publisher has been charged under the World War I-era law.
Seriously, this is the way a police state behaves.
In the first event, the Attorney General is being tasked to police other agencies for "disloyalty". One can call it something else, but that it what is going on. He's looking for "enemies" of the President within the agencies. In the second, he is trying to extend prosecution of espionage
to journalists. Thankfully, there are constitutional proscriptions against that, but maybe they think they've adequately co-opted the judiciary to get away with it. The point is, they're trying
, which is chilling enough.
Now, in fairness, I detest Assange and I am not a fan of what he has done, but, significantly, they are not
pursuing him for his interference with the election, but for the Manning disclosure. There were adequate, and in my view, appropriate charges already pending against him for assisting in breaching government computers - something that any journalist would be susceptible of prosecution for. And, I think, a legitimate case could be made for electoral fraud in the 2016 election regarding the coordination with a foreign adversary (I think Assange himself has been a Russian operative for some time). But, that is not what he is being charged with.
On the other hand, it may be that they deliberately targeted Assange in this was to prevent
his extradition. (That seems too clever by half, but it is a theory.)