The Columbia Journalism Review interviews James Goodale, chief counsel of the New York Times during the release of the Pentagon Papers in 1971 and author of the forthcoming book, “Fighting for the Press.”
On the similarities between the Pentagon Papers and WikiLeaks/Julian Assange:
Well, I think it’s very much the same thing. We have a leak of classified information. And by the way — you’ve got to remember [Bradley] Manning’s the leaker. Everyone says Assange is a leaker. He’s not a leaker. He’s the person who gets the information.
So why we’re so concerned about the prosecution of Assange is what he did is the same as what the Times did in the Pentagon Papers, and indeed what they did with WikiLeaks. The Times published on its website the very same material WikiLeaks published on its website. So if you go after the WikiLeaks criminally, you go after the Times. That’s the criminalization of the whole process.