A Republican senator has proposed rewriting the Espionage Act to target WikiLeaks.
Sen. John Ensign of Nevada yesterday announced a bill that would make it illegal to identify informants working with the U.S. military, which WikiLeaks did earlier this year when releasing files from the war in Afghanistan.
In last week's Iraq war files release, WikiLeaks removed names, but the U.S. Defense Department said yesterday that information in the leaked documents could still identify dozens of people.
"My legislation will extend the legal protections for government informants, such as the Iraqis named in this latest document dump, and will prevent an organization such as WikiLeaks from hiding like a coward behind a computer mainframe while putting lives in jeopardy," Ensign said.
Current law (18 USC 798) makes it illegal to disclose classified information about a "code, cipher, or cryptographic system of the United States" or "the communication intelligence activities of the United States." Any violation is a federal felony that can be punished with significant fines and prison terms of up to 10 years.
Ensign's proposal would add human intelligence--that is, the names of informants and other people quietly aiding the U.S. government--to the list of types of information that cannot legally be disclosed. The text of the legislation was not immediately available.
Read the rest of the CNET article here.
Comment: Here's a prediction, increased laws restricting Internet use, and more government surveillance against the citizenry. The laws are in place to prosecute those that release or compromise classified information, but as always the case in these situations, Congress increases the power of the state, which always harms the innocent and takes away our civil liberties. (Can you say Patriot Act folks?)
Here's an observation too; note how quite the Progressives are concerning this incident...what a surprise. No calls for getting out of the war, no cries calling for the protection of whistle-blowers, no rallies for freedom of speech.