Representative Peter King (R-NY) on Tuesday night said that journalists who revealed secret government programs should face criminal charges.


Discussing the recent news about the National Security Agency, CNN's Anderson Cooper asked the Republican if he believed journalists should be punished for reporting on leaked information.

"Actually, if they willing knew that this was classified information, I think action should be taken, especially on something of this magnitude," King responded. "I know that the whole issue of leaks has been gone into over the last month. I think something on this magnitude, there is an obligation, both moral but also legal, I believe, against a reporter disclosing something which would so severely compromise national security."

"As a practical matter, I guess there have been in the past several years, a number of reporters who have been prosecuted under it," he added. "So the answer is yes to your question."

In response to WikiLeaks, King proposed legislation in 2010 that would have made publishing classified information "concerning the identity of a classified source or informant of an element of the intelligence community" an act of espionage. The Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination Act was allowed to die in the House Judiciary Committee.

"These organizations are a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States," King explained at the time. "Julian Assange and his compatriots are enemies of the US and should be prosecuted under the Espionage Act. This legislation provides the Attorney General with additional authority to do just that."

Watch video, uploaded to YouTube by CNN, below: