Update: Queue the MSM planting the idea that Tucker could be charged under the Espionage Act Of 1917 into the public discourse, as Newsweek has followed the publication of this article discussing that very premise.
With the world transfixed on Tucker Carlson's impending interview of Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin, the resounding support his journalistic endeavor has fairly garnered has seemed to delude supporters from reality. Though engagement with Putin is a welcome reprieve from the US media's sycophancy shamelessly exhibited in contrived interview after contrived interview with Putin's Ukrainian counterpart in President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, I largely doubt it will be of any consequence as far as shifting policy or even public sentiment goes regarding the war in Ukraine and more broadly on foreign relations with Russia. When it comes to US policy making on Ukraine, each side of the US' bipartisan paradigm has its heels dug in the ground from an ideological standpoint. Anyone watching Carlson's interview will largely be unmoved in my view as his supporters already espouse the presumable positions Putin will take while its detractors will certainly frame those same points to justify their own narrative on the matter.
What may be of real consequence is what impact the aftermath of the interview will have on Carlson's future. After all, the shining beacon of hope Carlson represents is that of a light cutting through the shadows cast over the US subjugating the sacred freedoms of speech and press imbued in its citizens. That political climate is what makes Carlson's interview so worthy of praise from so many. However, it also underscores the real possibility that it may be weaponized to advance that tyrannical agenda out of desperation to preserve the narrative Carlson has so radically defied.
That premise was entertained by an attorney on X named Ian Corzine. In a video posted to his profile on the platform, Corzine contemplates the premise that the Biden administration could frame Carlson's decision to interview Putin as a crime under the Espionage Act Of 1917. Corzine doesn't advocate for this in his video, he simply discusses how the act could be used which seems to be a worthy consideration in an ever increasing age of lawfare. Strangely, this idea was vehemently rejected by independent journalism icon and friend of ZeroHedge, Glenn Greenwald.
Please watch this video and see for yourself how completely unhinged, authoritarian and repressive American liberals have become.— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 7, 2024
This is from a lawyer, very seriously discussing whether Tucker Carlson will be prosecuted under the 1917 Espionage Act for interviewing Putin. https://t.co/jrfIUE9a6i
I am a fan of Glenn's by all means. That's why I found his vehement rejection of this idea so strange. As someone who has been an iconoclast against the mechanisms of propaganda run by the machine that is mainstream political media, Glenn knows better than most how the system is weaponized both commercially and legally to suppress independent dissenting media. Examples of this are readily apparent, from the falling out of journalists from even independent media companies like Greenwald and James O'Keefe had with their departures from the Intercept and Project Veritas, respectively, to the hellbent persecution of WikiLeaks' Julian Assange. With that familiarity in tow, the idea that a presidential administration as corrupt and desperate as Joe Biden's would turn to invoking the Espionage Act Of 1917 against Carlson is somehow out of the realm of possibility seems shockingly naive coming from a man whose cunning has made him a paragon of journalistic integrity.
It's not Glenn. Ask Julian Assange how demented the idea the US government would prosecute someone for espionage for being a journalist is....— blueapples (@ashesofacacia) February 8, 2024
After all, since its inception the Espionage Act Of 1917 has been used to suppress free speech in the form of political dissent with the iron-fisted stranglehold of tyranny. The most illustrative example of this is found in the case of Schenck v. United States which was decided by the Supreme Court in 1919. While the name of the case may not be memorable to the lay person alone, the axiom iterated in its deliberation should. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes uttered the term "clear and present danger" when weighing the case, a phrase that would resound into the annals of constitutional case law and represent one of the most grievous examples of disregard for the First Amendment in our nation's history.
The underlying history that led to Charles Schenck petitioning the Supreme Court for a reprieve came upon him appealing his conviction under the Espionage Act Of 1917 for distributing flyers compelling men of age to resist conscription into the US army during the First World War. Schenck's defiance of the US' entry into the war was deemed threat to national security and as such was not protected as free speech by the First Amendment, a sentiment which echoes all too loudly in today's political discourse. Though clearly an instance of constitutionally protected free speech on its face, the Supreme Court deemed that "in many places and in ordinary times, Schenck, in saying all that was said in the circular, would have been within his constitutional rights. But the character of every act depends upon the circumstances in which it is done." going on to infamously opine that "the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent." in infamously upholding Schenck's conviction and fortifying the Espionage Act Of 1917 as one of the US' most powerful weapons in its arsenal against political dissent.
Perhaps no sitting president knows about the abuses of using the Espionage Act Of 1917 as well as Joe Biden does. At least in so far as he knows anything, which admittedly isn't further than one could toss a napkin into the wind. However, during Biden's tenure as Vice President, the Obama Administration used the act to such unprecedented lengths that a coalition of 50 news organizations, including mainstream stalwarts, submitted a letter of protest to then Attorney General Eric Holder decrying their outrage against what they deemed as government overreach for the Obama Administration's dragnet over news outlets following the revelations made by whistleblowers Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The warpath the Obama administration would wage in the aftermath of WikiLeaks shedding light on the abuses of the US government would see those who aided it sentenced to decades in draconian jail sentences, including a 30-month federal prison sentence handed down to Greek-American CIA agent John Kiriakou and most notably a 35-year sentence to US Army private Chelsea (at the time Bradley) Manning.
Kiriakou would vociferously chastise Obama's tactics, saying “President Obama has been unprecedented in his use of the Espionage Act to prosecute those whose whistleblowing he wants to curtail. The purpose of an Espionage Act prosecution, however, is not to punish a person for spying for the enemy, selling secrets for personal gain, or trying to undermine our way of life. It is to ruin the whistleblower personally, professionally and financially. It is meant to send a message to anybody else considering speaking truth to power: challenge us and we will destroy you.”
While Manning's initial sentence was commuted after 7 years, she would continue to be in the crosshairs of the political establishment and find herself jailed again for refusing to testify behind closed doors after being subpoenaed by prosecutors continuing their persecution of Julian Assange. Unlike Manning, Assange is still a prisoner due to the unabated power that the Espionage Act Of 1917 has given the political establishment of permanent Washington in skewering dissidents.
With the seemingly unchecked the Espionage Act Of 1917 fuels the bloodlust of the Biden administration with, is it really that ridiculous to consider that it could be used to target Carlson following his interview of Vladimir Putin? It would be naive to think so. Ultimately, the risk-reward of doing so will likely mean that cooler heads will prevail as the optics of prosecuting Carlson would launch a controversy that Biden doesn't need to introduce heading into the 2024 Presidential Election. However, that feasibility should remind us that while Carlson's interview of Putin is a defiance of the political censorship complex destroying free speech and press in the US, it is not a victory in the war against it.