State of Silence: The Espionage Act, Politics, and Press Freedom
Ken Orvidas

State of Silence: The Espionage Act, Politics, and Press Freedom

A panel discussion and Q&A on the Espionage Act

Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Since the passage of the Espionage Act in 1917, the U.S. secrecy regime has expanded with no overall vision, limiting the press, restricting political dissidents, and keeping citizens in the dark.

A panel of legal experts and journalists will discuss the contemporary politics of the Espionage Act, including its use in the prosecution of former President Trump, the ongoing efforts to extradite Julian Assange to the United States, and the prospects for reforming the act to reduce the harms it poses to American democracy. They will also discuss the forthcoming book State of Silence: The Espionage Act and the Rise of America’s Secrecy Regime (Basic Books, November 2023), by Sam Lebovic. A reception will follow the panel.

Co-sponsored by the Knight First Amendment Institute and the Columbia Journalism School.

Permission to Speak Freely?: Managing Government Employee Speech in a Democracy

Reading Room: Press-related prosecutions under the Espionage Act

Interactive Chart: Press-Related Espionage Act Prosecutions


  • World Room, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

    2950 Broadway New York, NY 10027

    Opening Remarks

    Jameel Jaffer, Knight First Amendment Institute


    Sam Lebovic, Knight Institute Senior Visiting Research Scholar, 2023-2024; George Mason University

    Mary-Rose Papandrea, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law

    Jeremy Scahill, The Intercept

    Margaret Sullivan, The Guardian US


    Katy Glenn BassKnight First Amendment Institute