Tell Congress to Pass the Tlaib Amendment to Reform the Espionage Act
Major Breakthrough on Espionage Act Reform!
Throughout its 105 year history, the Espionage Act has been used to persecute dissidents, whistleblowers, and even publishers. For decades we’ve been fighting for comprehensive reform to the Espionage Act to protect these truthtellers. Now Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) has introduced a measure that will accomplish just that.
It's amendment 617 to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and it would make it much harder to prosecute national security whistleblowers from Ellsberg to Manning to Snowden to Hale (and everyone in between) under the Espionage Act, and would make it impossible to prosecute journalists or publishers like Julian Assange.
Whistleblowers of conscience like Daniel Ellsberg (exposed the Pentagon papers), Chelsea Manning (exposed war crimes), John Kiriakou (exposed CIA torture), Daniel Hale (exposed drone war crimes), and all the other whistleblowers we’ve defended have been charged under the Espionage Act, and forbidden to defend themselves, or explain why they felt compelled to expose criminal or unethical government misconduct. The government was not required to prove that they intended to harm national security (even though the First Amendment mandates this). Thus, all the government had to show was they knew the information was classified and gave it to the media. They couldn’t even challenge the classification of the information, as the Espionage Act criminalizes releasing wrongfully classified information as well.
The Tlaib amendment puts roadblocks in front of the government, making it harder to charge whistleblowers under the Espionage Act, and allowing whistleblowers to defend themselves if they are charged. Specifically, the amendment:
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