Fighting for the Press

James C. Goodale is a leading First Amendment lawyer. He is the former General Counsel and Vice Chairman of The New York Times and has represented the Times in all four of its cases that have reached the Supreme Court. He has been called “the father of the reporters’ privilege.”

In his new book, Goodale assesses the “breach of national security” claims by the government as the 40th anniversary of the Pentagon Papers approaches. His assessment points out that President Obama has prosecuted more alleged leakers of national security than all previous administrations combined, making President Obama worse for press freedom than former President Nixon was during the time of the Pentagon Papers. According to Goodale, Obama may “succeed” where President Nixon failed if the Obama Administration is successful in indicting WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange for conspiracy to violate the 1917 Espionage Act.

According to Goodale, the biggest challenge to press freedom today is the trial of WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange. WikiLeaks is an international, online, non-profit organization which publishes secret information, news leaks and classified media from anonymous sources. Assange, an Australian internet activist, in generally described as its founder, editor-in-chief and director. As Goodale points out, he is not the one who leaked the Information; he published the information he was given-just like The New York Times did with the Pentagon Papers.

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