Senators, Liz Cheney want WikiLeaks leakers prosecuted

By David Edwards
Sunday, November 28, 2010 11:49 EDT
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WikiLeaks hasn’t even released the latest round of US government documents and already politicians and pundits are calling for prosecutions.

The latest release from the WikiLeaks website is expected to include as many as 250,000 secret diplomatic cables.

The Obama administration warned Wednesday that the documents could damage US relations with friends and allies.

“Leaking the material is deplorable,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Fox News’ Chris Wallace Sunday. “I agree with the Pentagon’s assessment that the people at WikiLeaks could have blood on their hands.”

“I don’t know what the cables may say but it’s just a — we’re at war. I mean the world is getting dangerous by the day and the people who do this are really low on the food chain as far as I’m concerned. If you can prosecute them, let’s try.”

Sen. Clair McCaskill (D-MO) agreed. “Lindsey’s right,” she said. “The people who are leaking these documents need a gut check about their patriotism and I think they’re enjoying the attention they’re getting but, frankly, it’s coming at a very high price in terms of protecting our men and women in uniform.”

“I hope that we can figure out where this is coming from and go after them with the force of law,” McCaskill said.

Also appearing on Fox News Sunday, former State Department official Liz Cheney called for the government to go after the leakers.

“I think, once again, the government of Iceland ought to shut down that [WikiLeaks] website,” Cheney said. “I think they ought to stop allowing the stuff to come out of the website in Iceland. I think that the administration ought to be focused very much on prosecuting those responsible.”

The State Department sent a letter Saturday to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange asking him to halt the leaks.

Publication of documents of this nature at a minimum would:

* Place at risk the lives of countless innocent individuals — from journalists to human rights activists and bloggers to soldiers to individuals providing information to further peace and security;

* Place at risk on-going military operations, including operations to stop terrorists, traffickers in human beings and illicit arms, violent criminal enterprises and other actors that threaten global security; and,

* Place at risk on-going cooperation between countries – partners, allies and common stakeholders — to confront common challenges from terrorism to pandemic diseases to nuclear proliferation that threaten global stability.

“Despite your stated desire to protect those lives, you have done the opposite and endangered the lives of countless individuals. You have undermined your stated objective by disseminating this material widely, without redaction, and without regard to the security and sanctity of the lives your actions endanger,” State Department legal advisor Harold Hongju Koh wrote.

“If you are genuinely interested in seeking to stop the damage from your actions, you should: 1) ensure WikiLeaks ceases publishing any and all such materials; 2) ensure WikiLeaks returns any and all classified U.S. Government material in its possession; and 3) remove and destroy all records of this material from WikiLeaks’ databases.”

Assange told reporters Sunday that Washington had “contacted the governments of almost every nation on earth to brief them about what some of these embarrassing revelations will do.”

“They’re in a rather unusual difficult position where it is not sure precisely what is going to be revealed,” he said.

WikiLeaks tweeted Sunday that their website was under a “mass distributed denial of service attack.”

“El Pais, Le Monde, Speigel, Guardian & NYT will publish many US embassy cables tonight, even if WikiLeaks goes down,” they wrote.

This video is from Fox News’ Fox News Sunday, broadcast Nov. 28, 2010.

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David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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