Assange indictment: Advocates see peril for journalism

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By Alex Johnson

The indictment charging Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange with obtaining and publishing classified material represents a grave threat to all Americans’ First Amendment rights, advocates across the political spectrum said Thursday.

The superseding indictment adds 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 to a single previous count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion that was revealed last month. Specifically, it accuses Assange, 47, of having illegally induced Army Pfc. Chelsea Manning to send him classified documents, some of which he published without redacting the names of confidential sources who provided information to U.S. diplomats.