White-Collar Crimes: Case Study of Julian Assange

White-Collar Crimes: Case Study of Julian Assange

A white-color crime is a nonviolent offense or crime that is committed by high or middle-status individuals such as government and business professionals involving the use of manipulation and deceit in their job duties for financial gain. Standard white color crimes are money laundering, copyright infringement, embezzlement, insider trading, bribery, cybercrime, forgery, bank fraud and identity theft. Several key elements ascertain whether a crime committed white-color. WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange was involved in a white-color crime of letting out diplomatic information, and he should be indicted for his actions. The Espionage Act is a law passed by the United States federal in 1917, right away after the United States got involved in World War I which has been changed severally over the years and is currently constituted under Title 18, Crime. The Act has three distinct most significant portions that Assange violated. Assange received some support though the earned support was an outcome of his victimless and cost fewer crime actions. His actions made it difficult for him to achieve the result he should have found. Though the Department of Justice did not state that the behavior of Assange was deviant, their articles’ wording proves otherwise. There is no deviance in Assange’s behavior according to the Justice Department; therefore, there are three possible effects on the justice pursuit.

Several key elements ascertain whether a crime committed white-color. One of the key factors is whether the crime form is a fraudulent scam or a security fraud. In this case, Julian violated the Espionage Act by involving in a fraudulent scam of aimed at causing harm to the United States by leaking information. The other primary element is money where most of those who are involved in white color crimes focus on the financial gain, and Assange actions were profit intended. Organized crime is another component which is a transnational, local and national run by criminals who engage in illegal activities for monetary benefits. Similarly, Julian operated a transnational organized crime which had its basis on the three elements thus he committed a white-collar crime (Greenberg, 2010). The release of diplomatic data which was intended to cause damage to the U.S dishonored the Espionage Act and required prosecution.

The authentic purpose for the Espionage Act was to stop a threat of incapacitation, subversion and venomous interference with war effort inclusive of the controversial restoration of the draft. It empowers the government to disapprove treason acts and punish those interfering and leaking the secrets of the military and the national government. Firstly, it is a crime to obtain or communicate information about the national defense which would cause harm to the U.S or work in favor of a foreign country. Secondly, it is illegal for one to access an installation and obtain a document bearing national defense information with intent or reason of hurting the United States. Thirdly, according to Duffy, (2009), it is a crime to receive knowingly illegally obtained classified information and passing it on to others with the intention of using it to the injury of the United States.

Assange apparently infringed on these three significance portions when he released secret government information and documents with an intention of causing harm to national security which put the United States lives at risk. He went ahead and made his intentions that he hopes his organization, WikiLeaks launches a social movement which will reveal secrets to bring the United States government as well as other governments down and actions and intentions meat the Espionage Act violation criteria. Notably, Julian got support for his costless and victimless crimes. He received support from people like Vladimir Putin Russian Prime Minister, Brazilian President Luiz da Silva, Rafael Castro Ecuadorian President and Alicia Castro Argentina’s Ambassador to the UK. He also had celebrities and activists support like Daniel Ellsberg, John Pilger, and Mary Kostakidis (Greenberg, 2012). However, Assange’s support outcome did not meet the expectations for his actions because other people had different opinions. For instance, Julia Gillard, Australian Prime Minister termed his actions illegal and Joe Biden, U.S Vice President described his activities as terrorism.

The United States Department of Justice does not state whether the actions of Assange are deviant though they say otherwise in publications. According to Horwitz, (2013), there is no criminal complaint or sealed charges against Julian Assange the founder of WikiLeaks organization in spite of the rumors that the Justice Department is investigating Assange. Ideally, what Assange did was going against the social norm of the American society by using the internet to undermine the government. Conversely, this can be viewed as the unavoidable impact of the web which is similar to acts by other whistleblowers through social networks (Morozov, 2011). In fact, it is only a section of online websites that distance themselves from Assange’s action with major social networks such as Facebook and Twitter giving him the platform to reach the masses. Overall, this supports the spirit of democracy, and since WikiLeaks revelations did not affect the government, the Justice Department has a high likelihood of terming it a deviant behavior. If the Us justice department does not consider Assange’s behaviors deviant it would have gone against the freedom of expression, exercised double standards yet again and obscured justice for civil rights activists. First, the freedom of expression and protection of civil rights activists would have been violated because Assange’s revelation was what he felt was wrong with the U. S government and the Constitution does not prohibit such claims. Secondly, declaring Assange a criminal would be a sign of double stands by the justice department that has let go other individuals such as David Petraeus in 2015 who leaked intelligence reports.



Duffy, M. (2009). First World War.com – Primary Documents – U.S. Espionage Act, 15 June 1917. Firstworldwar.com. Retrieved 19 April 2016, from http://www.firstworldwar.com/source/espionageact.htm

Greenberg, D. (2010). The real purpose of the Espionage Act.. Slate Magazine. Retrieved 19 April 2016, from http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/history_lesson/2010/12/the_hidden_history_of_the_espionage_act.html

Horwitz, S. (2013). Julian Assange unlikely to face U.S. charges over publishing classified documents. The Washington Post, p. N.P. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/julian-assange-unlikely-to-face-us-charges-over-publishing-classified-documents/2013/11/25/dd27decc-55f1-11e3-8304-caf30787c0a9_story.html

Morozov, E. (2011). How to save Julian Assange’s movement from itself. The New Republic, p. N.P. Retrieved from https://newrepublic.com/article/81017/wikileaks-internet-pirate-party-save