Day: June 25, 2024

Background Briefing: June 25, 2024

A Journalist Who Faced Jail Under the Espionage Act on Assange’s Plea Deal

We begin with the end of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s 14-year legal saga as he is due to appear on Wednesday in a US court in the Northern Marianas to be charged with one count under the Espionage Act in a plea deal that has the 1,901 days he spent in a British prison credit for time he would serve under the US sentence, meaning he will soon join his family in Australia where the government there played a large part in getting him freed. We discuss the irony that Assange is being charged with publishing the 2010 leaks from Chelsea Manning’s massive haul of stolen military and diplomatic cables on the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not for working with the Russians to help elect Trump by publishing emails stolen by the Russians to take the damaging Access Hollywood tape off the headlines just before the 2016 election. Joining us is James Risen, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author whose investigative reporting has triggered a series of political firestorms and attempts to jail him under the Espionage Act. Among his best-selling books are State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration and Pay Any Price: Greed, Power and Endless War. The Senior National Security Correspondent at The Intercept and a former investigative journalist with the New York Times, his new book is The Last Honest Man: The CIA, the FBI, the Mafia, and the Kennedys―and One Senator’s Fight to Save Democracy.


Presidential Debate Prep and How to Fact-Check Trump From a Former Democratic Strategist

Then we look into the debate prep underway with Joe Biden holed up in Camp David as Trump engages in pre-spin accusing Biden of being on drugs and the CNN moderators of liberal bias calling Jake Tapper “fake Tapper.” Joining us is Bob Shrum, the Director of the Center for the Political Future and Chair in Practical Politics at the University of Southern California. A legendary Democratic political strategist, he was a speechwriter for Senator George McGovern in the 1972 presidential campaign and for Senator Edward Kennedy in the 1980 presidential campaign. He served as the Senator’s Press Secretary in the early 1980s and as a political consultant and strategist in his subsequent Senate campaigns. He is the author of No Excuse: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner.


War Between Israel and Hezbollah Appears Increasingly Likely

Then finally we assess the increasing chances that a war will soon break out between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon and speak with Thanassis Cambanis, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation and Director of the Center for International Research and Policy. Until recently, he was worked as a journalist based in Lebanon and his books include A Privilege to Die: Inside Hezbollah’s Legions and Their Endless War Against Israel, Once Upon a Revolution: An Egyptian Story, and most recently, Shia Power Comes of Age: The Transformation of Islamist Politics in Iraq, 2003-2023.