In 1975, Philip Agee, a former CIA case officer who claimed he had become disillusioned with the CIA’s support for right-wing dictators in Central and South America, published “Inside the Company,” a tell-all memoir of his service, which included an appendix naming 250 alleged CIA officers, agents and informants. Agee also founded a magazine called “CounterSpy,” which advocated outing clandestine CIA officers.
There is a lot to digest in the superseding indictment of Julian Assange, which charges the Wikileaks founder with 17 counts under the 1917 Espionage Act in connection with the Chelsea Manning disclosures. But three of those counts represent a profoundly troubling legal theory, one rarely contemplated and never successfully deployed. Under those counts, the Justice Department now seeks to punish the pure act of publication of newsworthy government secrets under the nation’s spying laws.