Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, considered one of the foremost liberal authorities on constitutional law in the US and who taught the subject to President Barack Obama, has said to the Guardian that the charge against Bradley Manning could set a worrying precedent. He said:
"Charging any individual with the extremely grave offense of 'aiding the enemy' on the basis of nothing beyond the fact that the individual posted leaked information on the web and thereby 'knowingly gave intelligence information' to whoever could gain access to it there, does indeed seem to break dangerous new ground."Laurence Tribe, who advised the department of justice in Obama's first term, added that the trial could have "far-reaching consequences for chilling freedom of speech and rendering the internet a hazardous environment, well beyond any demonstrable national security interest."
In the same article Jesselyn Radack (@JesselynRadack) of the Government Accountability Project said the broad legal implications of Manning's trial were frightening. She said:
"If Osama bin Laden or any other suspected terrorist happens to have read a New York Times article on the internet, the government can now go after the paper for 'aiding the enemy'. That's a big problem."Jesselyn Radack further said that the case has had a chilling effect on investigative reporting. Several potential whistle-blowers have come to her in recent times, giving expression to their fears about leaking to any news publications because "they fear they will become the next Bradley Manning".
Full guardian Guardian article here.