James C. Goodale, former vice chairman of The New York Times, is the author of “Fighting for the Press: the Inside Story of the Pentagon Papers and Other Battles.”

Tricky Barack

James Goodale defended the New York Times during the Pentagon Papers. But Nixon had nothing on Obama, writes the First Amendment lawyer—and that’s bad news for freedom of the press.

As we mark the 40th anniversary of the Pentagon Papers' publication, the Obama administration is doggedly trying to charge Julian Assange and WikiLeaks with conspiracy to commit espionage. Now, as then, it amounts to a misguided effort to criminalize journalism—and should fail, says James C. Goodale.