The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

December 2, 2010
Feinstein calls for spy charges against WikiLeaks founder

Count Sen. Dianne Feinstein among those who believe that the leak of tens of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables is not only embarrassing and damaging to foreign policy, but illegal.

 

Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, today urged Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for espionage, along with "any and all of his possible accomplices."

 

"The unauthorized release of this information, including the recent release of approximately 250,000 State Department documents, is a serious breach of national security and could be used to severely harm the United States and its worldwide interests," the California Democrat wrote to Holder in the letter, which was also signed by the intelligence panel's Republican vice chairman, Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri.

 

WikiLeaks posted the cables on its website and provided them to news organizations. Assange is already the subject of an Interpol arrest warrant for questioning on sexual assault allegations in Sweden.

 

Holder said earlier this week that there is an active investigation into Assange.

 

Feinstein and Bond said they believe Assange's actions fall under the federal Espionage Act.

 

"If Mr. Assange and his possible accomplices cannot be charged under the Espionage Act (or any other applicable statute), please know that we stand ready and willing to support your efforts to 'close those gaps' in the law, as you also mentioned this week," they wrote.

 

Before the trove of cables from the State Department and U.S. embassies abroad, WikiLeaks published raw files from the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq.

 

Private First Class Bradley E. Manning, an Army intelligence analyst suspected of giving WikiLeaks the earlier documents and possibly the diplomatic ones as well, has already been charged in military court with eight violations of federal criminal law, including violating the Espionage Act by transmitting classified information to an unauthorized third party.


CORRECTION: An earlier version of this blog item incorrectly stated that Assange faced sexual assault charges in Sweden. Assange has not been charged with a crime.


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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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