A British judge’s decision not to extradite Julian Assange to the U.S. is a victory for peace and freedom lovers everywhere. Assange faces a prison sentence of up to 170 years for publishing highly classified materials, leaked by a member of the U.S. Army. These materials included such things as the classified video of a brutal American war crime overseas.
As a former Air Force munitions clerk with a top secret clearance, I can attest to how the classification process is often used to keep dirty secrets from our own citizens and allies as it is to protect legitimate secrets from real or potential enemies.
This raises two questions: When the classification process is used to hide dirty laundry, who is the criminal — the journalist who brings the truth to light, or the government that hides in the shadows?
And if Assange faces 170 years in prison, why wasn’t The New York Times locked up for publishing “The Pentagon Papers”?