Is viewing and republishing documents from WikiLeaks illegal, or isn’t it? Apparently not even the US State Department knows.
America’s top diplomatic agency republished a document leaked by the secrets outlet, which the site revealed today via Twitter.
“State department republishes Wikileaks’ doc,” they wrote on their Twitter page. “Will they now try to sue themselves?”
The document (.pdf) is a congressional report on US trade policy in the Caribbean. The report was published in January 2009 and was released by WikiLeaks on February 2, 2009, along with 6,780 other congressional reports.
It was unclear when the US State Dept. published the document, which resided on its .gov domain.
The reports, written by the tax-payer funded Congressional Research Service, are legally in the public domain, though not often released to the public at large.
Philip Crowley, a spokesman for the State Dept., said that US officials do not consider site founder Julian Assange to be a journalist or whistleblower.
Crowley added that Assange was not an “objective observer” but an “active player” with his own political agenda.
London Metropolitan police arrested Assange on Tuesday morning for a warrant out of Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning. He is accused of one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation, and one count of rape.
According to one report, his two female accusers wanted to have Assange tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) after both had unprotected sex with him and did not originally intend to press charges.
Assange claims the charges against him are politically motivated.
Since releasing leaked US diplomatic cables, Assange has come under increasing pressure from governments across the globe, including the United States, which is currently investigating whether he can be prosecuted.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the release an “attack on international community.”