Daniel Ellsberg, former United States military analyst, said he fears for the safety of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in an exclusive interview today on "The Dylan Ratigan Show." Ellsberg said that he sees striking similarities between the government's current investigation into Assange and the investigation that he faced when he released the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Ellsberg told Ratigan that he fears for Assange, saying, "Now as I look at Assange's case, they're worried that he will reveal current threats. I would have to say puts his well-being, his physical life, in some danger now. and I say that with anguish. I think it's astonishing that an american president should have put out that policy and he's not getting these resistance from it, from congress, the press, the courts or anything. it's an amazing development that I think Assange would do well to keep his whereabouts unknown."
Excerpts from the transcript are below. If used, please credit MSNBC.
To watch the full interview, go to: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/37647573#37647573
RATIGAN: Do you see direct parallels between what's developing here and what you went through?
ELLSBERG: I didn't understand that we don't have an official secrets act in this country, criminalizing the disclosure of certain information. Except with certain narrow forms of information which is not involved in the pentagon papers or in this. The nuclear weapons data. The identities of covert agents, those things are subject to law. The classification system as a whole is an administrative system that doesn't have legal force in this country. We're almost alone among countries in that. I didn't know that at the time. I assumed I must be breaking some law, that we had some equivalent. And so i didn't know to start with, that I was the first person ever prosecuted for a leak. The first person to have the Espionage Act provisions used not for espionage, but for revealing information to the American public. There have only been a couple of people who have been indicted since then. Samuel Loring Morrison. And the APEC under George W. Bush. The only cases and conviction was for Morrison. President Obama, who came in promptsing transparency in government, and an end to the excessive secrecy has totally violated that pledge. and it so happens that he's not only brought two indictments, more than any other president for leaking before any other president had done. but with now, with Bradley Manning, under arrest, if he's under prosecution, that will be three. A new, a new record for President Obama. That's really not the kind of change I voted for when I voted for him.
ELLSBURG: You know, may I say, the expression he used, I was supposed to do a dialogue with him at that conference, that's why I went to New York. And he explained, the explanation he used was that he was understood that it was not safe for him to come to this country. And then later he explained now when the Bradley Manning arrest was announced, he said now you understand why I didn't come. I think it's worth mentioning a very new and ominous development in our country. I think he would not be safe, even physically entirely, wherever he is. We have after all for the first time, that I ever perhaps in any Democratic country, we have a president who has announced that he feels he has the right to use special operations operatives against anyone abroad, that he thinks is associated with terrorism. That he suspects of it. And that includes American citizens. One American citizen has even been named. Now Assange is not an American citizen. But I listen to that with a special interest. Because I was in fact the subject of a White House hit squad in November on May 3rd, 1972. A dozen Cuban assets were brought up from Miami with orders, quote, quoting the prosecutor, to incapacitate Daniel Ellsberg totally. on the steps of the capital, it so happens when i was in a rally during the vietnam war. And I asked the prosecutor, what does that mean, kill me? And he said, the words were "to incapacitate you totally." But you should understand, these guides, meaning these c.i.a. operatives never use the word "kill." i actually think it was to silence me at that particular time. For worries they had that I would leak president Nixon's nuclear threats, which he was making at that precise time in 1972. Now as I look at Assange's case, they're worried that he will reveal current threats. I would have to say puts his well-being, his physical life, in some danger now. and I say that with anguish. I think it's astonishing that an american president should have put out that policy and he's not getting these resistance from it, from congress, the press, the courts or anything. it's an amazing development that I think Assange would do well to keep his whereabouts unknown.