Don’t prosecute Assange, even though he’s insufferable

I can understand why Obama administration figures want to prosecute Assange for espionage or other crimes. I confess I’d like to throw a cream pie in his face myself.

But prosecuting Assange would give him exactly what he wants: proof that America is hypocritical, that we don’t live by the freedoms we preach. Assange would like nothing more than to be a martyr – and President Obama shouldn’t give that to him.

The better way to deal with Assange is to make him irrelevant. The only reason WikiLeaks has been a sensation is the absurd secrecy of the Obama administration, in some ways worse than that of George W. Bush. The reflexive classifying has, by creating the perception that the government has much to hide, created a market for WikiLeaks…

The episode spotlighted Obama’s surprisingly poor record on government openness. The administration has already undertaken four prosecutions of government leakers, more than any predecessor, in some cases using the arcane, World War I-era Espionage Act. At the same time, the administration stymied efforts in Congress to pass a “shield law” to protect journalists’ confidential sources.