In what would be a shocking turn of events, the Washington Post is reporting that the Justice Department is weighing whether or not to charge members of the WikiLeaks organization for their involvement in the 2010 leak of diplomatic cables.
Obama decided not to prosecute the organization in 2010 for publishing classified information, but it appears the Trump administration has indicated they are open to taking a second look at the case given Obama didn’t officially close the case.
Details remain tight-lip on whether or not they are also investigating WikiLeaks for their role in the 2016 election when they released thousands of emails from Hillary Clinton and John Podesta to the public.
The case becomes complicated for two reasons.
Newly appointed CIA director Mike Pompeo said during a forum with the Center for Strategic and International Studies earlier this month that it was “time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: a non-state, hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors, like Russia,” and he criticized the Obama administrations for being “squeamish” about going after publishers of classified information.
“They have pretended that America’s First Amendment freedoms shield them from justice. They may have believed that, but they are wrong,” said Pompeo when he was a congressman.
The situation gets more interesting when the other shoe drops. Trump was very, very supportive of WikiLeaks during the presidential elections.
On the campaign trail, when WikiLeaks was destroying the credibility of both Hillary Clinton and John Podesta, Trump broadcasted his support for WikiLeaks.
“I love WikiLeaks,” Trump told a crowd in Pennsylvania. But he has dramatically changed his tune given that they released CIA tools just a few short months ago.
“In one case, you’re talking about highly classified information,” Trump said at a news conference earlier this year. “In the other case, you’re talking about John Podesta saying bad things about the boss.”
It will be very interesting to see how the Trump administration moves forward with this. Clearly, there is a divide between high-ranking officials working for the president about how to move forward.
Trump is going to have to confront how he normalized hacking and the release of classified information now that they are doing it against him.