I am asking that individuals assist me with the process of collating historical research into the revolutionary war, and how espionage was handled during that war, in the context of what might provide immunity under the 1st Amendment.
Content based restrictions of speech, must fall within a historical exemption that existed when the 1st amendment was ratified. Therefore, if the scope of the indictment does not fall within a historical exemption, then it must necessarily follow that the government cannot punish soliciting government secrets from government officials. Specifically I am looking for instances where publications were charged for sedition, or other similar crimes similar to espionage, or whether the person who solicits a secret could themselves be charged for soliciting a secret and then publishing it.
I seem to vaguely remember some stuff about Benjamin Franklin being involved in the news business, some conflicts with news organizations publishing war news, but I’m not sure that is exactly on point. I also remember the Statute of Anne, and how the requirement that a newspaper receive permission before publishing, but im not sure that is exactly on point either.