9 May 2022


WikiLeaks Continues to Post Classified Materials

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WikiLeaks Continues to Post Classified Materials 

WikiLeaks publishes information leaks based on their political, ethical and historical significance on transparency issues. In the definition, WikiLeaks is a website that characterizes the ‘whistleblower protection intermediary’ (Berghel, 2012). Wikileaks operates in the shadow of a convoluted system that exploits the online security where people cannot face persecution for running a treasonous site in the digital era. 

Sources from the press and the site cannot face retribution through the safeguarding of the liaison. American prosecutors, therefore, face a challenging process of prosecution because most of its servers exist in non-American foreign locations where the violation of the press article charges does not have jurisdiction.

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The First Amendment’s protection of WikiLeaks from persecution

On the site, the founding publishers state the Universal Declaration of Human Rights when justifying the work on acceptance of information and expressing the civil duty through principled leaking of information that is of public interest (Chawki, 2012). The agencies' objective is to ensure that government acts in a transparent and a fair manner towards its citizens. The First Amendment can apply to the extent of persecuting people that produce the documents available for publishing on Wikileaks. 

The hosts are not punishable by law due to disclosure of classified data that is unauthorized. The property protection laws accommodate the technological liaison of intermediaries and hosts in the digitalized era. The Tor network software that guarantees online human anonymity is considered as property and thereby transmissions by accessing government or corporate websites can occur fallibly.

Justification of the WikiLeaks releases about the Syrian government emails

The Wikileaks site has published the communication exchanges in Syrian government emails that are among politicians, Syrian companies, and the government ministries. The government emails were from and to the ministries of presidential affairs, information, finance and foreign affairs. The aim was to portray the betrayal of the Syrian government to its citizens and the involvement of Western companies in the internal operations. Incidences such as the legal precedence of the nation's case against the New York Times significantly highlighted the issue on media rights (Curran & Gibson, 2012). 

The posting of classified government US documents about the Pentagon Papers opened a platform from which WikiLeaks justifies its actions on the release of secret Syrian government emails. In a trend where the freedom of expression supersedes all contexts in the First Amendment, people cannot be persecuted for sharing such information online. The premise often bases on the clause that the law justifies passive action in obtaining such documents. The Swedish and England’s host refused to release server logs despite the pressure by the American prosecutors.

Localization of the information from the Syrian government emails poses a question on the prosecution of a publisher who disseminates information that is factual but illegally obtained by an undisclosed source, therefore, does not offend the First Amendment (Michael, 2015). In a court of law, the constitutions pits competing for notions and intentions against each other and therefore the outcome is based on the currency of the matters in the Supreme Court. Arrests of such individuals Julian Assange, the director of WikiLeaks, becomes challenging. 

Judicial terms in such a case where WikiLeaks published the Syrian government emails conflict regarding whether they communicated, delivered or transmitted the documents. There is no court opinion on the post-publication prosecution for the publishers of WikiLeaks. The First Amendment’s rights of the media weigh heavier on the legality of the rationale. The publishers did not play any role in illegally obtaining the stipulated information. No law prohibits the receipt of information by the disseminators. The Syrian government's emails were a matter of the exposure of private conversations to the public domain.

The courts balanced the promotion of public discourse with the free flow of information on issues that have the public concern. The notion is more appealing than the intrusion to the confidential conversation and illegal interception. Monumental public interest outweighs the Syrian government's security and reputational damage. There are no claims where the participants ordered, encouraged, abetted or counseled the sources as intermediaries and therefore the action is justified.

Limitations to the WikiLeaks rights to post government or corporate secrets

The operations of the WikiLeaks website depend on the illegal capture of government and corporate through anonymously liaising proxies documents. The leakage of certain information endangers US citizens by revealing the name of secret government agents in Afghanistan and exposing the advancement of American weaponry in case of an attack. The wish to seek shelter under the First Amendment has led to the change of tone in the WikiLeaks publications where it focuses more on journalism under the Media Protection Article. In the public domain, WikiLeaks, emphasizes on the reviews rather than leakage of factual information.

When the posts go through scrutiny and reduce doctrinaire hostility, the First Amendment laws protect the cause of the site. The rights are also limited to gear the posts towards satisfying public interest instead of unnecessary exposure. The relevance of the information reduces the perception of harm and increases acceptance by corporate and government agencies. This approach encourages improvement of the service the government and the companies give to the citizens ("Socialism Today - Wikileaks, state repression and the limits of the 'new media'", 2011). The First Amendment can also regulate the evidence that supports the existence of harm done by the release of some government documents.

The Espionage Act limits the publications that expose foreign government’s secret because this plays a role in the tension between different parties and the host nation such as the United States of America and the Syrian government during the release of emails that belonged to the Syrian government by a US citizen. The First Amendment does not have a citizen’s right to access government information because the cause is not constitutionally mandated. The direct access to the administrative information enables people to read the documents and therefore such sites would not exist for this purpose.

The Espionage Act also prohibits individuals from having unauthorized possession of the national defenses’ information that has the potential to injure the safety of the general population through revelation to a foreign country. The Act discourages the person to communicate such information to another person, keep the information or gives the data to someone that has no entitlement to have that communication. The person should, therefore, submit the document to an officer in the defense forces or government or give it to an employee of that corporation.

The WikiLeaks’ notion of keeping complete anonymity defines their objectives of exposing names and data about other people. There is no provision for the vetting of sources who hide their identities. The First Amendment needs to cover the reporter shield laws accordingly so as to avoid the confidentiality of malicious journalists. The government also has a role in reducing misconduct so as to reduce the perception that the database contains information that would make Americans distrust their internal operations.

The First Amendment should include an article that deals with the new type of media platforms. Constitutional outcomes for such cases give detail to the small distinctions such a the coercion to receive private documents and the motivation behind the publication. In this way, WikiLeaks can focus more on the responsible exposure that aims at achieving the common good and spike public interests on the whistleblowers journalism objectives.


Berghel, H. (2012). WikiLeaks and the Matter of Private Manning.  Computer 45 (3), 70-73. http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/mc.2012.105

Chawki, M. (2012). WikiLeaks: transparency vs. national security.  International Journal Of Intellectual Property Management 5 (1), 39. http://dx.doi.org/10.1504/ijipm.2012.045860

Curran, G. & Gibson, M. (2012). WikiLeaks, Anarchism and Technologies of Dissent. Antipode 45 (2), 294-314. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8330.2012.01009.x

Michael, G. (2015). Who's Afraid of WikiLeaks? Missed Opportunities in Political Science Research.  Review Of Policy Research,  32(2), 175-199. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ropr.12120

Socialism Today - Wikileaks, state repression and the limits of the 'new media'. (2011). Socialismtoday.org . Retrieved 20 May 2016, from http://www.socialismtoday.org/145/wikileaks.html

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