A senior Republican representative in the United States has called to treat WikiLeaks as a foreign terrorist organization. Rep. Peter King, the incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to look into the possibility of changing the group's status.
By branding WikiLeaks an organization that supports terrorism, the U.S. government would have the power to seize assets and to prosecute anyone who provides the group with information or other assistance.
What WikiLeaks does is “worse even than a physical attack on Americans, it's worse than a military attack,” said King. The release of classified political and military documents “[puts] American lives at risk all over the world,” he said.
WikiLeaks obtains classified documents from anonymous sources and posts them online. The site previously leaked over 390,000 reports on the war in Iraq, and this week leaked diplomatic cables between U.S. officials around the world.
Senator Joe Lieberman called on the Obama administration to “use all legal means necessary to shut down WikiLeaks before it can do more damage.” WikiLeaks poses “a shared threat to collective international security,” he said.
Lieberman held off on supporting King's proposal, saying that WikiLeaks does not fit the traditional definition of terrorism, but said he would speak to King about the matter and may support his initiative at a later date.
Clinton: WikiLeaks 'Attack' is Not Brave
Secretary of State Clinton slammed WikiLeaks as well, accusing the site of endangering lives and undermining diplomacy. “Let's be clear: This disclosure is not just an attack on Americans for political interests. It is an attack on the international community,” she said Monday.
The government is tracking down those who stole the information, and will take “aggressive steps” to hold them responsible, she said.
“There is nothing laudable about endangering innocent people, and there is nothing brave about sabotaging the peaceful relations between nations,” Clinton continued. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has claimed humanitarian motives in releasing secret files, saying the site aims to “be of assistance to people of all regions who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their governments and corporations.”
Clinton did not confirm that the leaked documents were genuine U.S. diplomatic cables, but said America “deeply regrets the release of any information that was intended to be confidential.”