Espionage Act Law & Legal Definition


The Espionage Act is a federal legislature enacted in 1917. The Act criminalizes and punishes espionage, spying and related crimes. The Act prohibits not only spying but also various other activities, including certain kinds of expression. The Act pursuant to 18 USCS § 793, provides that a person will be punished with fine or imprisoned not more than ten years if s/he copies, takes, makes, or obtains, or attempts to copy, take, make, or obtain any sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, document, writing, or note of anything connected with the national defense. The Act deems any person a criminal if s/he is found obtaining information with respect to the national defense with a reason to believe that the information to be obtained is to be used to the injury of the U.S