As Glenn Greenwald explains, an attack on Wikileaks is an attack on traditional investigative journalism.
A coalition of leading journalists and media outlets in Australia have explained: WikiLeaks “is doing what the media have always done: bringing to light material that governments would prefer to keep secret” and prosecuting them “would be unprecedented in the US, breaching the First Amendment protecting a free press“; they added: “To aggressively attempt to shut WikiLeaks down, to threaten to prosecute those who publish official leaks . . . is a serious threat to democracy.” The Committee to Protect Journalists sent a letter to Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder expressing “deep concern” over “reports about a potential WikiLeaks prosecution,” which “would threaten grave damage to the First Amendment’s protections of free speech and the press.” Although American journalists were reluctant at first to speak out, even they have come around to recognizing what a profound threat an Assange indictment would be to press freedoms, with The Washington Post Editorial Page denouncing any indictment on the ground that it “would criminalize the exchange of information and put at risk responsible media organizations,” and even editors of the Guardian and Keller himself — with whom Assange has feuded — are now vowing to defend Assange if he were to be prosecuted.
To take it a step further, an attack on investigative journalism is an invitation for the government to act unaccountably, in secret, which is absolutely in conflict with the notion that the U.S. government is being run by the citizens. To connect the dots, a federal criminal prosecution of Wikileaks is an attack on democracy. For more see this post, and see this article demonstrating that Wikileaks is doing nothing different than the New York Times when the Times is doing its job well.