Saying that it was vital to stop “WikiLeaks from hiding like a coward behind a computer mainframe,” Senator John Ensign (R – NV) announced today that he intends to push forward with legislation that aims to formally criminalize WikiLeaks as well as severely curtailing the ability to release classified documents.
According to Sen. Ensign’s website the main purpose of the bill would be to amend the Espionage Act to ban releasing any information pertaining to “human intelligence.” He insists the bill doesn’t ban anyone else from publishing the leaks.
But those familiar with the content of the bill say that it will extend a broad ban on “any information that could be used to reveal the identities of classified sources, informants, or partners of any element of the intelligence community.” The bill would also formally label WikiLeaks as a “transnational threat.”
A number of officials have expressed outrage at the leaking of evidence of US war crimes, with the Pentagon insisting WikiLeaks doesn’t support the troops. The ability to criminalize the group seems questionable on a number of levels however, not the least of which is that the organization operates entirely outside of the US and its top members are not US citizens. How they will be able to claim jurisdiction over the organization is unclear at best.