The House Judiciary Committee held a surprisingly subdued hearing this morning on the legal and constitutional issues surrounding Wikileaks' publication activities. Committee members repeatedly emphasized the importance of protecting First Amendment rights and cautioned against overreaction to Wikileaks. The seven legal experts called to testify agreed, almost all of them noting that:
- Excessive government secrecy is a serious problem that needs to be fixed,
- It's critically important to protect freedom of expression and the press, and
- The government should be extremely cautious about pursuing any prosecutions under the Espionage Act or any legislation that would expand that law, which is already poorly written and could easily be applied in ways that would be unconstitutional.
EFF agrees, and hopes that this hearing will dissuade the House from adopting rash legislation in the wake of Wikileaks' recent publications.