Treason's Return

6 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2008

See all articles by Kristen Eichensehr

Kristen Eichensehr

University of Virginia School of Law


On October 11, 2006, the Department of Justice indicted Adam Gadahn on charges of treason and providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. Because Gadahn's alleged crimes consist solely of participating in propaganda videos, his case strongly resembles the last wave of treason prosecutions of American civilians, many of which involved citizens who served as propagandists for Germany and Japan during World War II. In those prosecutions, the government employed an "aid and comfort" theory of treason; today, that theory raises First Amendment problems. Instead, the government should prosecute Gadahn under the "levying war" prong of the Treason Clause on the basis of his participation in a campaign of psychological warfare against the United States.

Keywords: Treason, Propaganda, Gadahn

Suggested Citation

Eichensehr, Kristen, Treason's Return. Yale Law Journal Pocket Part, Vol. 116, No. 229, 2007, Available at SSRN:

Kristen Eichensehr (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

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