US Espionage Act Violators Have Been Sentenced to Decades in Jail, Execution
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Former Presidentmight the U.S. Espionage Act, according to some prominent legal experts, after classified White House documents were found at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, raising questions about the punishments faced by by previous violators of the law.
Theraided Trump's residence on Monday after the and reportedly retrieved sensitive government documents that included information related to nuclear weapons, according to The Washington Post.
A timeline of how the FBI came to search Trump's Mar-a-Lago as part of an Espionage Act probe
Here is a timeline of Trump's dealing with the National Archives, the Department of Justice and missing classified documents. Here is a timeline on the missing Trump papers and how the FBI came to search Mar-a-Lago. Have a tip? Please email us at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. The FBI's search of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida follows months of allegations that the former president mishandled government records, including reports of him ripping up documents and photos of notes with handwriting resembling his that he reportedly tried to flush down the toilet.
The New York Times reported that the recovered documents included information related to "some of the most highly classified programs" in the country.that the raid was mainly based on tips received from an informer, who identified the type of classified documents Trump still had and their location.
What Is the Espionage Act?
The Espionage Act was first enacted byin 1917 shortly after the United States entered World War I. Under the law, individuals are prohibited from obtaining "any information related to the national defense with intent or reason to believe that the information may be used for the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation," according to the First Amendment Encyclopedia on the Middle Tennessee State University's website. The law also applies to the improper handling of sensitive information related to national security.
What is the Espionage Act?
The unsealing of the search warrant that the FBI executed at former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property revealed that the agency believes Trump may have violated the Espionage Act of 1917, among other potential crimes. The warrant was made public on Friday after the Justice Department filed a motion to request that it be unsealed. Attorney…The warrant was made public on Friday after the Justice Department filed a motion to request that it be unsealed. Attorney General Merrick Garland said he made the decision given the intense public interest in the situation and because Trump chose to publicly reveal that the search occurred.
Part of the law also stipulates:
"Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both."
How Were Past Law Violators Convicted?
The Espionage Act was enacted during different instances in American history, prompting some of its violators to either flee the country or face punishment, with some sentences varying from fines and imprisonment to execution. Here are some of the high-profile individuals who were punished under the law.
The Espionage Act and Trump’s documents, explained
The FBI’s unsealed warrant tells us why they searched Mar-a-Lago — but not much about what they foundThe Espionage Act is actually a series of statutes under 18 US Code Chapter 37 related to the collection, retention, or dissemination of national defense or classified information. The Mar-a-Lago search warrant referred to Section 793 — “Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information,” which doesn’t just cover “spying” in the sense that many think of when they hear the term.
The Australian WikiLeaks founderwith a potential 175-year prison sentence if convicted under the law. Assange was accused by prosecutors of illegally helping former U.S. Army intelligence analyst to steal thousands of classified diplomatic cables and military files, which were published by WikiLeaks in 2010.
He sought asylum in Ecuador's embassy in London in 2012 after facing extradition by authorities in Sweden in November 2010 over rape allegations. Ecuador revoked Assange's asylum status in 2019.
The U.S.requested , which was repeatedly blocked by British courts, with one judge stating in January 2021 that extraditing him would be "oppressive" due to his mental health and that this might lead him to taking his own life.
However, in June, U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patelfollowing a ruling by the country's in March that said his removal could proceed.
The American whistleblower, who was granted asylum in Russia in 2013, used to work as a computer intelligence consultant and leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency () that revealed information about global surveillance programs.
Rand Paul calls for repeal of Espionage Act following Mar-a-Lago raid
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) called for a repeal of the Espionage Act following the FBI's raid of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home on Monday.The Kentucky Republican made the announcement in a tweet linking to an article from former Libertarian presidential candidate Jacob Hornberger, who argued that the Espionage Act has been abused and should be abolished.
Snowden was hailed as bothas his leaks sparked debate about surveillance practices on citizens. He is still wanted in the U.S. where he faces three espionage charges and could face up to 30 years in jail if convicted, .
A political activist and labor organizer from Terre Haute, Indiana, Eugene Debs was the Socialist Party'sfive times between 1900 and 1920. He also contributed to the rise of industrial unionism, helped adopt advanced social and economic reforms, and was known for defending anti-war activists from being accused of disloyalty.
Debs was arrested at a Socialist event in Cleveland and was charged with 10 counts of violating the Espionage Act during a speech he gave in Canton, Ohio,. Debs was sentenced to 10 years in prison after the jury found him guilty on three counts.
According to, Debs supported the Socialist cause, during his speech in Canton, and denounced war, saying: "They have always taught you that it is your patriotic duty to go to war and slaughter yourselves at their command. You have never had a voice in the war. The working class who make the sacrifices, who shed the blood, have never yet had a voice in declaring war."
FBI Raid Might Not Have Been About Indicting Trump: Experts
Legal experts told Newsweek there's the possibility that nothing follows the Mar-a-Lago raid aside from the recovery of sensitive presidential records.Court records unsealed on Friday revealed that FBI agents were authorized to seize any documents marked as classified or any records related to the "transmission of national defense information or classified material." The warrant also indicated that federal law enforcement was investigating Trump for violating the Espionage Act.
A prosecutor alleged during a 1918 trial that Debs' speech was "calculated to promote insubordination" and "propagate obstruction to the draft," according to The Smithsonian Magazine.
"I have been accused of having obstructed the war. I admit it. I abhor war. I would oppose the war if I stood alone," Debs told the jury. "I believe in free speech, in war as well as in peace ... If the Espionage Law stands, then the Constitution of the United States is dead."
The first Socialist U.S. Congressman, Victor L. Berger, who was born in Austria and moved later to Connecticut before settling in Milwaukee, was also involved in labor politics, according to. He worked with Debs to found the Social , which was later named as the Socialist Party of America.
Berger opposed World War I and touted anti-war views that had cost him the loss of the mailing permit of a publication he founded called thein 1917. He was charged under the Espionage Act the following year.
He was convicted along with four other Socialist Party leaders, and by early 1919, a judge sentenced each of them to 20 years in.
Julius Rosenberg, who worked as an engineer for the U.S. Army Signal Corps, and his wife Ethel, a secretary, were both executed by electric chair in 1953 for violating the Espionage Act by spying on behalf of the Soviet Union,. They were the first American citizens to be executed for espionage during peacetime.
Julius first met Ethel through the Young Communist League in which they were both members. The couple were arrested in 1950 on suspicion of violating the Espionage Act, accused of leading a spy ring that gave secret sensitive information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union.
Richard Glossip Survives Fourth Execution Date .
Glossip has been served his last meal three times: fish and chips, a Wendy's Baconator, a strawberry shake and pizza.Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed an executive order on Tuesday delaying Glossip's execution for the 1997 killing of motel owner Barry Van Treese, which had been set for September 22. The order reset Glossip's execution date to December 22.