In Australia, former military lawyer and whistleblower David McBride has pleaded guilty to unlawfully sharing classified material. The Australian government accused McBride of jeopardizing national security by sharing information on Australian war crimes in Afghanistan with two journalists from ABC, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, who published the revelations in the Afghan Files reports. The military claimed public interest immunity in the case, allowing the government to withhold key information, and dashing McBride’s chances of benefiting from whistleblower protections. McBride spoke to supporters outside the courthouse.
David McBride: “I stand tall, and I believe I did my duty. And I don’t see it as a defeat. I see it as the beginning of a better Australia.”
Press freedom groups warned the case will have a chilling effect.
In related news, a group of 16 bipartisan U.S. congressmembers sent a letter to President Biden earlier this month asking him to drop efforts to extradite imprisoned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from the U.K. and to “not pursue an unnecessary prosecution that risks criminalizing common journalistic practices.”