Rep. King Calls For Wikileaks To Be Declared Terrorist Organization And For Assange To Be Prosecuted As Spy

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has called for WikiLeaks to be officially designated as a terrorist organization. This would, of course, allow the same designation for The New York Times and other organizations to be declared terrorists for publishing leaked stories on torture, secret prisons, or the Pentagon Papers.

King has asked for the Administration “determine whether WikiLeaks could be designated a foreign terrorist organization.” He noted “WikiLeaks appears to meet the legal criteria . . . WikiLeaks presents a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States.” King also demanded that Attorney General Eric Holder “criminally charge WikiLeaks activist Julian Assange under the Espionage Act” for conspiracy to disclose classified information.

I previously testified at a House Intelligence Committee hearing where members pushed for new laws to criminalize publishing classified material by journalists. King appears intent on restarting that effort. With Democrats like Claire McCaskill calling for prosecutions, we could be entering a very dangerous period for press freedom in our country. Democrats are still smarting over the leaking of embarrassing stories showing that their leadership knew about the torture program and other abuses during the Bush Administration. As noted by Sen. Rockefeller, many members long for the period when the public had less coverage and were not so critical of their conduct in office.

The Bush Administration showed that Congress failed miserably in its oversight of intelligence programs. It was the media (and whistleblowers) who told the public of crimes committed by our government and revealed violations of international and domestic laws. Members in Congress have an obvious interest in chilling such disclosures and asserting their own control of information going to the public.

According to the Senator Graham, any disclosures of national security material must be prosecuted as a threat to national security “at a time of war.” The use of espionage and terrorism laws in such cases would move us squarely in the same camp as such countries as China, which routinely use such prosecutions to punish people for embarrassing stories.

As the incoming Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, one cannot dismiss these statements are coming from the fringe of American politics despite King’s past controversial statements (here, here).

Source: CNET

62 thoughts on “Rep. King Calls For Wikileaks To Be Declared Terrorist Organization And For Assange To Be Prosecuted As Spy”

  1. Anon Nurse.

    Glen Greenwald’s comments on the double standards of US politicians and media types are in my opinion obligitory daily reading.

  2. Hah Buddah.

    I should have known from your perspicacious comments that you also are a Babylon 5 fan. I recently went out and bought the DVDs for all 5 seasons, and watched them all. There are so many current (at the time) culture references. My favourite is the one where a slavic psychiatrist who looked just like Serb psychiatrist and ethnic cleaner Radovan Karadzic was explaining that people who don’t hate and fear aliens are suffering from a inferiority complex related to their despising their own species.

    Are you also a fan of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and The Wire?

  3. Thanks for that, Buddha… (And well said.)

    Bradley Manning deserves credit, as well, of course. As it is, he’s behind bars in Quantico — at least he’s being “detained” in some fashion. Meanwhile George Bush, Dick Cheney and the others are doing just fine. For now.

  4. Marnie, The following article might interest you, if you haven’t already seen it…

    Wednesday, Dec 1, 2010

    The moral standards of WikiLeaks critics
    By Glenn Greenwald

    (begin excerpt)

    I want again to really encourage everyone to read this great analysis by The Economist’s Democracy in America, which includes this:

    I suspect that there is no scheme of government oversight that will not eventually come under the indirect control of the generals, spies, and foreign-service officers it is meant to oversee. Organisations such as WikiLeaks, which are philosophically opposed to state secrecy and which operate as much as is possible outside the global nation-state system, may be the best we can hope for in the way of promoting the climate of transparency and accountability necessary for authentically liberal democracy. Some folks ask, “Who elected Julian Assange?” The answer is nobody did, which is, ironically, why WikiLeaks is able to improve the quality of our democracy. Of course, those jealously protective of the privileges of unaccountable state power will tell us that people will die if we can read their email, but so what? Different people, maybe more people, will die if we can’t.

    (end excerpt)

  5. We’ve got senators and others calling for arrest as a terrorist, presumably with torture to follow, and even for execution with out trial.

    Reminds me of the fatwa against Salmon Rushdie for the “Satanic Verses” which of course Rill Amurkans along with real Americans denounced as barbaric and contrary or the rights of free speech.

    Why are they so offended by the truth?

  6. Thanks for posting the TPM link, Swarthmore mom.

    “ Inc. forced WikiLeaks to stop using the U.S. company’s computers to distribute embarrassing State Department communications and other documents, WikiLeaks said Wednesday.”

    “The ouster came after congressional staff questioned Amazon about its relationship with WikiLeaks, said Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut.”

    Tweets from WikiLeaks regarding the “ouster”:

    “WikiLeaks servers at Amazon ousted. Free speech the land of the free–fine our $ are now spent to employ people in Europe,” the organization said Wednesday in a posting on the Twitter messaging service.”

    “If Amazon are so uncomfortable with the first amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books,” WikiLeaks said in another tweet.”


    By CHARLIE SAVAGE and ANDREW W. LEHREN Published: November 29, 2010

    WikiLeaks and the Diplomats (November 30, 2010)

    The king told a top White House aide, John O. Brennan, that the United States should implant an electronic chip in each detainee to track his movements, as is sometimes done with horses and falcons.

    “Horses don’t have good lawyers,” Mr. Brennan replied.

  8. Thanks for that link, Swarthmore mom… The video was worth watching, IMO — the part about Wikileaks, that is. From the same link:

    I couldn’t agree more that it’s not about the leaks but, rather, “the silence and the lies”…

    From the BBC: (Rachel Slajda)

    The man who leaked the Pentagon Papers on the Vietnam war in 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, has given his backing to Wikileaks.

    Speaking to BBC World Service, Mr Ellsberg disagreed with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statement that the latest leaks could endanger lives.

    “That’s a script that they role out every time there’s a leak of any sort,” he said.

    It is not leaks, but “silences and lies” that put peoples’ lives in danger, he believes.

  9. Shame on the mindless stooges around NY who elect reactionary goons like Rep. King.

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