US Government prepares to go after Wikileaks
A couple of United States Senators are planning action against Wikileaks in the wake of the disclosure of thousands of sensitive documents:
On Thursday afternoon, senators will be briefed by Administration officials on the recent massive leak of classified documents by the website Wikileaks, a chance for them to ask questions and determine if a legislative remedy is necessary. Several key members made clear that they stand ready to take legislative action, if necessary.
White House officials have said that everything should be on the table in response, and Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, echoed that sentiment Thursday, telling the Senate Armed Services Committee, “We, as a country, need to make sure this never happens again. We, as a country, should do all we can.”
This in response to a question by Sen. John McCain, top Republican on the defense panel, during a hearing on whether or not to repeal the military’s current ban on gays serving openly. McCain said he was “concerned” about the leaks and that “someone needs to be held responsible.”
Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., joined McCain in expressing alarm at the public release of information that officials have said damaged U.S. national security and put Americans in harm’s way. Levin said Congress should act, if necessary, and afterward told Fox, “It may be appropriate. I don’t have enough information yet.”
The chairman said he would attend Thursday’s closed-door, senators-only briefing, which includes top officials from the State Department, Pentagon, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, to ask questions, and then make a determination at some point on what Congress should do.
The Justice Department has already announced a criminal investigation into the matter.
You can’t go back and prosecute somone for “crime” that didn’t exist at the time the action was committed. I’m not sure if that’s what they are supposedly trying to do here or not. Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution prevents the passage of an ex post facto law.
And as the possibility of prosecution by the United States government, Wikileaks is readying its “insurance” policy, another round of sensitive documents:
Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, has circulated across the internet an encrypted “poison pill” cache of uncensored documents suspected to include files on BP and Guantanamo Bay.
One of the files identified this weekend by The Sunday Times — called the “insurance” file — has been downloaded from the WikiLeaks website by tens of thousands of supporters, from America to Australia.
Assange warns that any government that tries to curtail his activities risks triggering a new deluge of state and commercial secrets.
The military papers on Guantanamo Bay, yet to be published, have been supplied by Bradley Manning, Assange’s primary source until his arrest in May. Other documents that Assange is confirmed to possess include an aerial video of a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan that killed civilians, BP files and Bank of America documents.
Meanwhile, our government is shaking up embassies around the world due to memos that were written by staffers, and also bracing for thousands of more pages to be released.
While I have mixed feelings about the leaks, I tend to agree with Brett Bittner, who wrote here last week about Wikileaks:
the Wikileaks releases provide us with a glimpse at government transparency in a way that we would never see if not for their actions. Their sharing of classified information lets us know about things done behind closed doors, and because their actions are not directly involving the capture of classified information, rather the publication of information given to them by others, their actions seem to be protected by the First Amendment.
It also does not bother me to see the Federal Government exposed like they are going through a TSA full body scanner once in a while. If they have nothing to hide, there is nothing to fear, right?
I’m not buying the rhetoric that these memos are putting lives at risk, what they are doing is prompting more of us to be skeptical of goverment. And that’s a good thing.