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When the Nation Springs a [Wiki]Leak: The 'National Security' Attack on Free Speech

Touro International Law Review, Vol. 14, No. 2, p. 273, 2011

61 Pages Posted: 16 May 2011  

Kate Kovarovic

American University - Washington College of Law

Date Written: May 14, 2011

Abstract

The WikiLeaks website has dominated global media headlines since June 2010, when it first released a series of documents speaking to national security issues. Since then, WikiLeaks administrators have overseen two further series of document releases, most recently in November 2010. Public condemnation of the website has only grown in this time, and both the website and its administrators have come under intense scrutiny in recent months. However, scholars and politicians have been far too quick to condemn the website for the illegality of its actions, often pushing for prior restraint of the documents under the national security exception to free speech. Although this exception has long been accepted under both domestic and international law, these politicians and scholars have improperly applied the standards of this principle. In more closely examining U.S. legal history relating to the national security exception, it is clear that the WikiLeaks website continues to function within its legal boundaries. This Article details the evolution of the national security exception in both national and international law, and later analyzes this principle in the context of the WikiLeaks releases. The Article then closes by exploring possible methods of inducing greater cooperation between government and media.

Keywords: WikiLeaks, Communications Law, Comparative Law, Media Law, Free Speech, National Security, International Law

Suggested Citation

Kovarovic, Kate, When the Nation Springs a [Wiki]Leak: The 'National Security' Attack on Free Speech (May 14, 2011). Touro International Law Review, Vol. 14, No. 2, p. 273, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1841923

Kate Kovarovic (Contact Author)

American University - Washington College of Law ( email )

4300 Nebraska Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States

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