Volume 56

Prosecutorial Discretion, Extradition, and National Security: Reading Between the Lines of the Assange Indictment

by Ephraim David Abreu

Julian Assange: the name rings bells worldwide. Some see him as a crusader for truth and government transparency; others see him as a serious national security risk. The stance of the United States government has historically been the latter.

Federal prosecutors recently requested Assange’s extradition from the United Kingdom in connection with a 2018 indictment. However, their case has very little to do with the full range of national security concerns that the government has attributed to Assange over the years. Prosecutors have curiously filed a single-count indictment that charges Assange with conspiracy to hack a Department of Defense password. This lean indictment causes pause. Its narrow focus can only be described as dissonant when measured against Assange’s adversarial history with the government and the purported threats to national security he poses.

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