He did, however, publish for all the world to read, documents which the U.S. government considered secret. This he cheerfully admits. As far as I can deduce, most of those are harmless to U.S. interests and many of them are not really secrets, they're just embarrassing. I am judging by what I've read and heard about them, because I am not going to wade through a hundred thousand documents. My ignorance, however, is no block to my ability to form an opinion.
During the Nixon Administration, we got used to hearing news like this. Information was revealed that was intended to be kept secret, but the only people apparently left in the dark were American voters. A good example was the news about the bombing the Nixon government was doing in Cambodia. Turns out the Cambodians knew about it (duh-h), the enemy (North Vietnamese) knew about it because they saw the bombs falling on them, and the American government knew about it, naturally. But the American people did not, and we got angry when we did find out. It became an item in the impeachment process.
Being familiar with the tendency of the American government to fabricate itself into wars (Vietnam and Iraq, for instance) I think we Americans have a right to know what the hell the government is doing. We shouldn't let the bastards hide behind their "confidential" and "top secret" stamps any more. The burden of sorting out what the democratically inspired people of our nation should be protected from ought not to be in the hands of the liars and cheats.
In the matter of the Wikileaks papers, I know that the Saudis and other Middle Easterners would like to keep secret the fact they want the U.S. to whack Iran. This is NOT a secret that should be kept from the American people. I, for one, and I hope I speak for gazillions of Americans, don't care if they're embarrassed by their own phony sanctimoniousness.
So, yes, I hope Assange goes free on the "leaking" changes, and I hope he keeps up his good works.