Two prosecutors involved in the case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange argued against the Justice Department’s decision to accuse him of violating the Espionage Act because of fear such charges posed serious risks for First Amendment protections and other concerns, according to people familiar with the matter.

The previously undisclosed disagreement inside the Justice Department underscores the fraught, high-stakes nature of the government’s years-long effort to counter Assange, an Internet-age publisher who has repeatedly declared his hostility to U.S. foreign policy and military operations. The Assange case also illustrates how the Trump administration is willing to go further than its predecessors in pursuit of leakers — and those who publish official secrets.

The internal Justice Department debate over how, or whether, to prosecute Assange stretched back to the Obama administration, which ultimately decided that such charges were a bad idea but did not formally close the case.