Espionage Act of 1917

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The Espionage Act of 1917 is a United States federal law passed on 15 June 1917, shortly after the US entry into World War I. The Act was originally found in Title 50 of the US Code (War) but is now found under Title 18 (Crime), and has been amended numerous times over the years.

Julian Assange: Up to 175 years in prison?

The Espionage Act of 1917 was intended to prohibit interference with military operations or recruitment, to prevent insubordination in the military, and to prevent the support of United States enemies during wartime. In 1919, the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously ruled through Schenck v. United States that the Act did not violate the freedom of speech of those convicted under its provisions. The constitutionality of the law, its relationship to free speech, and the meaning of its language have been contested in court ever since. Although the most controversial sections of the Act, a set of amendments commonly called the Sedition Act of 1918, were repealed on 3 March 1921, the original Espionage Act was left intact.[1]

Among those charged with offences under the Act are:


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Chelsea Manning released, faces new imprisonment for refusing to testify against AssangeArticle10 May 2019Niles Niemuth“The idea I hold the keys to my own cell is an absurd one, as I face the prospect of suffering either way due to this unnecessary and punitive subpoena: I can either go to jail or betray my principles,” Manning explained. “The latter exists as a much worse prison than the government can construct.”


  1. Vaughn, Stephen L. (ed.) (2007), Encyclopedia of American Journalism, Routledge, London, ISBN 0415969506, p. 155.
  2. Rogerson, Alan (1969), Millions Now Living Will Never Die, Constable, London, ISBN 0-09-455940-6, full text at [1]
  3. "WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange charged with violating Espionage Act"
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