Anti-WikiLeaks bill introduced in US Congress

US lawmakers have introduced legislations in the Congress which is aimed at stopping the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks by making it illegal to publish the names of military or intelligence community informants.

Last Updated: Dec 10, 2010, 13:53 PM IST

Washington: US lawmakers have introduced
legislations in the Congress which is aimed at stopping the
whistle-blower website WikiLeaks by making it illegal to
publish the names of military or intelligence community
informants.

The House version of the bill was introduced in the
House of Representatives yesterday by Congressman, the Senate
version was introduced last week by Senators John Ensign, Joe
Lieberman and Scott Brown.

The move comes in response to WikiLeaks`s publication
of thousands of classified diplomatic cables.

The Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful
Dissemination Act (SHIELD) would give the government the
flexibility to pursue Assange for allegedly outing
confidential US informants.

Ranking Member and Chairman-elect of the House
Committee on Homeland Security, King said the legislation will
give the Department of Justice additional tools to prosecute
future disclosures by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange or
others.

King had previously called on Attorney General Eric
Holder to prosecute Julian Assange the WikiLeaks founder and
editor in chief -- under the Espionage Act.

This legislation expands the Attorney General`s
authority to prosecute leaks of intelligence, he said.

"Julian Assange and his associates who operate and
support WikiLeaks have not only damaged US national security
with their releases of classified documents, but also placed
at risk countless lives, including those of our Nation`s
intelligence sources around the world," King said.

"WikiLeaks presents a clear and present danger to the
national security of the United States, and Julian Assange, an
enemy of the US, should be prosecuted under the Espionage Act.

This legislation will give the Attorney General additional
tools to do just that," he said.

"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," Senator
Ensign said in a statement last week.

"Let me be very clear, WikiLeaks is not a
whistleblower website and Assange is not a journalist," he
argued.

Senator Brown said the law would prevent anyone from
compromising national security in a similar manner.

"Our foreign representatives, allies and intelligence
sources must have the clear assurance that their lives will
not be endangered by those with opposing agendas, whether they
are Americans or not, and our government must make it clear
that revealing the identities of these individuals will not be
tolerated," Lieberman said.

PTI