ACLU, EFF Jump into Wikileaks Case

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February 27, 2008 9:25 a.m.

Wikileaks just got some legal backup.

The ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a motion last night to intervene in the case. The two groups are seeking to roll back a federal California judge’s sweeping order earlier this month that blocked access to wikileaks.org. The order came as a result of a Swiss bank’s complaint that the site was distributing confidential documents that allegedly show shell accounts used to hide assets.

A lawyer for the ACLU and EFF said that shutting down the site was a case of “burning down the house to roast the pig.” It’s wrong, the groups argue, that the public has lost access to all of the documents that wikileaks has to offer (well, at least through wikileaks.org — a number of mirror sites have sprung up to counter the order).

The groups are seeking to intervene in the case on behalf of themselves, the Project on Government Oversight, a D.C. watchdog, and Jordan McCorkle, a student at the University of Texas who uses wikileaks on a regular basis.

Update: Public Citizen and the California First Amendment Coalition have also sought to intervene in the case.

Update: A group of journalism organizations has also sought to file an amicus brief on Wikileaks’ behalf. Those organizations are: the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the Associated Press, the Citizen Media Law Project, E.W. Scripps, Gannett, Hearst, The Los Angeles Times, the National Newspaper Association, the Newspaper Association of America, the Radio-Television News Directors Association, and the Society of Professional Journalists.

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