Is Julian Assange another Pentagon Papers case?

But the problem with the current effort is that, while it might be legally strong, it seems on the face of the indictment to be factually weak. It alleges that “Assange encouraged Manning to provide information and records” from federal government agencies, that “Manning provided Assange with part of a password,” and that “Assange requested more information.” It goes on to say that Assange was “trying to crack the password” but had “no luck so far.” Not the strongest set of facts here!

The first question is whether a legal theory based on such inchoate facts will be sufficient for an extradition request to be granted. Even if it is, a grant of extradition could be appealed through several layers of courts, which would take a long time. The second question is what would happen to Assange while these appeals proceeded. If he were locked up, he might well waive extradition in the hope of winning his case in the United States. The third question is whether American prosecutors might amend the indictment to make it legally and factually stronger and, if they did so, whether they would take such action before or after he was extradited.