Assessing the Leakers: Criminals or Heroes?

David Cole, expanding on his recent piece in The New York Review of Books, considers the perpetrators of the major intelligence leaks currently dominating the headlines: Edward Snowden, Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning, and Julian Assange. Cole reviews the actions and avowed motivations of these individuals—noting their similarities and differences—while subjecting each situation to legal analysis. Cole acknowledges the complex justifications on all sides, ultimately drawing out complicated questions of civic responsibility on the part of leakers and American society.

Lead Author

David D. Cole
David Cole is the Honorable George J. Mitchell Professor in Law and Public Policy at Georgetown University Law Center. He is also a volunteer attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights, the legal affairs correspondent for The Nation, a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, and a commentator on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. He has been published widely in law journals and the popular press, including the Yale Law Journal, California Law Review, Stanford Law Review, New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Los Angeles Times. He is the author of six books. Less Safe, Less Free: Why America Is Losing the War on Terror, published in 2007, and co-authored with Jules Lobel, won the Palmer Civil Liberties Prize for best book on national security and civil liberties. Enemy Aliens: Double Standards and Constitutional Freedoms in the War on Terrorism, received the American Book Award in 2004. No Equal Justice: Race and Class in the American Criminal Justice System was named Best Non-Fiction Book of 1999 by the Boston Book Review, and best book on an issue of national policy in 1999 by the American Political Science Association. His most recent book is The Torture Memos: Rationalizing the Unthinkable (2009).
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