After former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Largo home was raided by the Justice Department in August, many wondered if it was just a weaponized FBI targeting the Biden administration’s political enemies. It was reported that Trump was under investigation for possibly violating the Espionage Act, among other potential crimes.
Sen. Rand Paul said after the raid that it was time to get rid of the Espionage Act.
The espionage act was abused from the beginning to jail dissenters of WWI. It is long past time to repeal this egregious affront to the 1st Amendment.
Repeal the Espionage Act – The Future of Freedom Foundation https://t.co/3KCgujpS9z
— Rand Paul (@RandPaul) August 13, 2022
Paul linked to a 2019 column by Future of Freedom Foundation President Jacob Hornberger that examined the Act in relation to the continued U.S. persecution of Julian Assange.
“In fact that was one of the reasons for the Espionage Act—not to punish people for spying but rather for criticizing the draft and the war” Hornberger noted. “The law converted anyone who publicly criticized the draft or attempted to persuade American men to resist the draft into felons.”
He added, “And make no mistake about it: U.S. officials went after such people with a vengeance, doing their best to punish Americans for doing nothing more than speaking.”
Hornberger observed, “(I)t is that World War I relic that U.S. officials are now relying on to secure the criminal indictment of Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks head who released a mountain of evidence disclosing the inner workings and grave wrongdoing on the part of the U.S. national-security establishment, especially with respect to the manner in which it has waged it undeclared forever wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan.”
It is the same first World War relic that is being used to persecute Edward Snowden who revealed to the world the U.S. government’s secret and illegal mass surveillance program.
When it was reported on Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had granted Snowden his request for citizenship, the whistleblower was predictably back in the headlines.
Independent journalist Glenn Greenwald reminded the Twitterverse why Snowden actually couldn’t come home.
And let's not lose sight of the key point:
The only reason Snowden — who revealed illegal domestic spying — can't come home is because the Obama Admin abused the Espionage Act to prosecute more whistleblowers than all previous presidents combined.👇https://t.co/FWH1oYPmcW
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) September 26, 2022
That’s right, the Obama administration—including Vice President Joe Biden—used and abused the Espionage Act more than any other president at the time.
Biden got involved directly and harshly in the original Snowden affair. Is Biden doing it again with the Mar-a-Largo raid? We don’t know.
We do know the Espionage Act has been a political weapon of the U.S. federal government.
We do know Snowden is no fan of it, for obvious reasons.
The Department of Justice just declared war––not on Wikileaks, but on journalism itself. This is no longer about Julian Assange: This case will decide the future of media. https://t.co/a5WHmTCDpg
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) May 23, 2019
Those who looked the other way because they personally disliked Julian Assange when the DOJ indicted him under a legal theory that merely publishing clear, public-interest journalism could constitute multiple Espionage Act violations should reconsider where that road leads. https://t.co/KrQ7rLzKJr
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) January 21, 2020
You can despise Wikileaks and everything it stands for. You can think Assange is an evil spirit reanimated by Putin himself. But you cannot support the prosecution of a publisher for publishing without narrowing the basic rights every newspaper relies on. https://t.co/Hs5XH6Vmzz
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) November 16, 2018
Rand Paul said we should ditch the Espionage Act during a time when most minds were on the federal government ransacking Trump’s home. But Paul never said that was the reason we should get rid of it.
Regardless, he’s right.
Not everything has to be about Trump.
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) October 22, 2019