New York Rep. Peter King has exploited the hysteria surrounding the Wikileaks case to introduce legislation to make it illegal to publish the names of American intelligence sources who provide information to the US military or intelligence community, according to Homeland Security Today.
King has called Assange a terrorist and demands Eric Holder and the Justice Department deal with him.
HR 6506, called the SHIELD Act (Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination), is a companion bill to a Senate bill introduced earlier this month by senators Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), John Ensign (R-Nev.), and Scott Brown (R-Mass.). Both bills would amend U.S. Code Title 18 Section 798, also called the Espionage Act, to provide legal protections that already apply to communications intelligence to human intelligence sources.
“Julian Assange and his cronies, in their effort to hinder our war efforts, are creating a hit list for our enemies by publishing the names of our human intelligence sources,” Ensign said in a statement. “Our sources are bravely risking their lives when they stand up against the tyranny of al Qaeda, the Taliban, and murderous regimes, and I simply will not stand idly by as they become death targets because of Julian Assange. Let me be very clear, Wikileaks is not a whistleblower website and Assange is not a journalist.”
The State Department argues that the publication of the documents places at risk the lives of “countless innocent individuals” and threatens to undermine the U.S. military occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Lancet, one of the oldest scientific medical journals in the world, published two peer-reviewed studies on the effect of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and subsequent occupation on the Iraqi mortality rate. The survey concluded that nearly a million Iraqis died as a result of the invasion.
In August, the United Nations reported a startling increase in civilians deaths in Afghanistan, including a 55 percent increase in deaths or injuries sustained by children.
According to the Conflict Monitoring Center, U.S. And Pakistani intelligence officials “deliberately overlook civilian fatalities and relay only censored accounts to Western media organizations.”
Lieberman and Sen. Susan Collins, the chair and ranking member respectively of the Senate homeland security committee, on Thursday praised companies for cutting services to Wikileaks. ”
Companies that are cutting off their services to Wikileaks in the wake of its release of 250,000 stolen and classified State Department cables are doing the right thing as good corporate citizens and deserve the support of the American people,” Lieberman and Collins said. “The Wikileaks data dump has jeopardized US national interests and the lives of intelligence sources around the world.”
Amazon stopped hosting the Wikileaks website after Lieberman’s congressional staff questioned the company about its relationship with the organization. Visa, MasterCard and PayPal froze Wikileaks’ accounts and hackers attacked the credit card websites in response.
“If Amazon are so uncomfortable with the first amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books,” Wikileaks responded to the Amazon takedown.
The neocon wing of the establishment Republican party, led by former House speaker Newt Gingrich, has called for Assange’s blood. Gingrich demands Assange be classified as an ”enemy combatant” and hunted down, kidnapped, and sent to a CIA torture dungeon.
In late November the supposed leader of the hijacked Tea Party, Sarah Palin, declared that the Wikileaks founder to be “an anti-American operative with blood on his hands” who should be “pursued with the same urgency we pursue al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders.”
“We are at war. American soldiers are in Afghanistan fighting to protect our freedoms,” Palin continued. “They are serious about keeping America safe. It would be great if they could count on their government being equally serious about that vital task.”
Palin has suggested that “cyber tools” be used to shut down websites posting information the government does not want the American people to read.