The ruling was a victory, at least for now, for the Biden administration, which has pursued an effort to prosecute Mr. Assange begun under the Trump administration. Mr. Assange will seek to appeal the decision to Britain’s Supreme Court, according to his legal team.
The Justice Department’s decision to charge Mr. Assange under the Espionage Act in connection with obtaining and publishing secret government documents has raised novel First Amendment issues and alarmed advocates of media freedom. But because he has been fighting extradition, those questions have not been litigated and his transfer to the United States could set off a momentous constitutional battle.
Esper, 57, a West Point graduate and Gulf war veteran, said in a statement that he had waited for six months for the review process to play out but found “my unclassified manuscript arbitrarily redacted without clearly being told why”.
“I am more than disappointed the current administration is infringing on my first amendment constitutional rights. And it is with regret that legal recourse is the only path now available for me to tell my full story to the American people,” he said.
The Biden administration is playing an active role in flagging Facebook posts it considers to be “problematic” or “disinformation,” according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
During a Thursday press conference, Psaki said White House senior staff were engaging with “social media platforms” to combat the spread of “misinformation specifically on the pandemic.”
“In terms of actions we are taking or that we’re working to take, I should say, from the federal government, we’ve increased disinformation research and tracking within the surgeon general’s office. We’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation,” she said.
The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) pledge that it will no longer secretly obtain the records of journalists has left a number of unanswered questions about the department’s handling of leak investigations initiated during the Trump era.
It’s not clear what high-ranking Biden officials knew and when as the Justice Department proceeded with cases involving reporters from three different media outlets or why the department continued to push for gag orders in two cases even after President Biden said late last month that seizure of journalist records was “simply wrong.”
The Justice Department under President Donald Trump obtained a gag order that kept top CNN executives from disclosing the government’s pursuit of reporter Barbara Starr email and other records as part of an apparent leak investigation.
According to CNN, the effort started in July of last year and was only revealed until Wednesday, when a federal judge unsealed parts of the case. CNN’s general counsel David Vigilante went on air to explain that he was unable to reveal details of the case even to Starr herself. She and reporters from The Washington Post and The New York Times were informed last month that the government had seized their records without their knowledge.