Should Wikileaks editor Julian Assange be criminally prosecuted for disseminating classified U.S. information?

 

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CamdenMcC

December 9, 2010 - 3:44pm

If someone had thought to reveal various secret documents of the government in 1916, there would have been a public uprising, Woodrow Wilson would have been defeated in his campaign for a second term, and the United States would have stayed out of the World War. Instead, a conspiracy at the highest level of government spent 195 American lives on the Lusitania to create a casus belli and bring the U.S. into the war. Today, the vast majority of such "secret" documents are simply embarrassing to the U.S. government, which, for its part, has abandoned the Constitution and is simply a band of thieves. "We, the people," should demand access without limit to all documents created for any purpose by anyone on the taxpayers' dime.

Tom D

December 9, 2010 - 4:55pm

Give this to the CIA black ops

Charles Carter

December 9, 2010 - 5:05pm

I think eveyone is missing the boat on this one. We are emotionally led to believe by incompetant government officials that the founder of Wikileaks is the problem in leaking sensitive government information - he isn't. The real culprits are those individuals within government that leaked the informatiion to him in the first place. They are the ones we should prosecute. We are trying to shoot the messenger because he will not reveal his sources and he shouldn't have to under our freedom of the press provisions. Because in house security needs a complete overhaul is not the reason to create this smoke screen to cover up government incompetance in who has access to sensitive information and who does not. Granted, Jullian Assange did not do us any favors by releasing sensitive information, he really embarrassed government oficials who, for whatever reason, felt that back door, closed door politics, can be conducted without repercussions.

shotgun1635

December 9, 2010 - 5:07pm

Doesn't anyone pay attention to details anymore? What is it? Once you are off of active duty, attention to details doesn't count?

The latest bunch of State Department Documents were NOT classified.

Let me repeat that: the latest bunch of State Department Documents were NOT classified.

The poll question is FLAWED.

The obvious bias of the current Legion hierarchy is made clear: you don't give a dang about the rule of law - you just want this guy's head on a pike because your tender sensibilities got a teensy bit injured.

Charles Carter

December 9, 2010 - 5:16pm

Because of conditions early on in the beginning of the century prior to WW I, the war to end all wars was inevitable regardless of whether President Wilson (or whoever would have been President had he lost the election) had been in office at the time.
Because of international ties between European natiions, through direct family, marriage, and treaties, the spark that ignited the tinderbox would have happened anyway whether Wilson was in office or not.
The Kaiser is one of the grandchildren of the Queen of England but that did not stop him from going to war. Because of our vested interests, we were involved whether we wanted to be or not. More importantly, what was left unresolved at the end of WW I led directly to the government that eventually took over Germany, the Nazi's, and started WW II.
Conspiracy theorists abound on America's entrance into both wars and to be sure, errors were made and promises broken. This has nothing to do with with Wikileaks.

zymurgy

December 9, 2010 - 5:47pm

He is guilty of treason; hang the bastard!

wildman_jack

December 9, 2010 - 6:29pm

I served, and also worked for private companys with clearance. My sisters boy Pat is leading a platoon in Afganistan destroying ieds. I was with DOD and finished my career with the USPS. If at any time I leaked any of the information I personaly knew or suspected or still know, that could hurt our Nation, Troops or people. I would expect to be hung. If I were not a U.S. Citizen I would be a spy or terrorist, shot, hung, burned,trampled or given to the justice of the family's whose young son's and daughters who may or have died for this act.

john benson

December 9, 2010 - 7:03pm

I say he is a traitor,hanging is to good.

BBB

December 9, 2010 - 8:21pm

Treason is Treason no matter how you look at it. And as the guy that wrote before me said, if you are a spy you should pay the price. Now for the person(s)that are Responsible for the leak, they should be held accountable and dealt with accordingly under Espionage law. Free press and free speech can not hide for this kind of act.

bcc2607

December 9, 2010 - 9:05pm

Question is, how did he get these "secrets". I just saw a very good email that said, "to keep the secrets secret, they should be kept in the same place as obama's birth certificate and college transcripts are kept.

LASH

December 9, 2010 - 10:23pm

What a stupid thing to say mentioning Obama's birth certificate.
Sounds like too much tea in the AL.

The wikileaks founder is NOT a US citizen and as such is not subject to any laws regarding Treason. He is not even guilty of espionage.
Whoever leaked the information should be punished harshly, and the people who were responsible for securing that information might do with a few classes in safeguarding sensitive information.

tigercommand

December 9, 2010 - 11:43pm

I wonder why this has happened during the Obama Presidenty..?? The is just about as bad as our Congress now days giving secerts away and our country to the Chinese a 45 Billion dollar bail out to build electric windmills in Arizonia and they run Them. BS

rproctor11

December 10, 2010 - 12:32am

The young soldier, Pvt. Bradley Manning, that “Hacked” the classified documents and turned them over to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange should be tried in military court for Treason. Julian Assange is an enemy of the state and should be criminally prosecuted for disseminating classified U.S. information and Espionage.
While we’re at it, maybe we should bring back the Stocks and Pillory for the city counsel members and other city officials in Berkeley, California that wish to canonize Pvt. Manning for his dangerous and illegal activities. There is nothing heroic or patriotic about Treason! A few days in the town square for all to see might bring a new perspective to their misguided view of right and wrong.

T Chaser

December 10, 2010 - 5:38am

During a thirty year career in the aerospace world I have had custosy of literally thousands of Secret and TS documents - some for hours, some for months. And every single one of them had a cover sheet that spelled out in plain English that disclosure of the material therein to any unauthorized person was a crime and cited the applicable U.S. Code covering unauthorized disclosure.
Putting aside the issue of overclassification, there was a release of hundreds, if not thousands, of classified documents - a crime under U.S. law.
What is not to understand here? The Army Private stole classified documents and Assange published them. When's the trials?

wohl1917

December 10, 2010 - 10:08am

Is that after the Afghan documents were leaked, not much happened. After he leaked the State Department documents still, not much happened. Then he announced that leaked BANK DOCUMENTS were next and all of a sudden, Sweden charges him with rape and everybody wants his hide... very interesting!
I don't think that he or those who leaked the documents to him should be prosecuted. IF the people concerned were doing what they were supposed to be doing it shouldn't matter, should it? Now if the lying, incompetent, corrupt SOBs weren't doing what they were supposed to be doing and getting people killed because of it they deserve to be exposed and hung out to dry for it! Turn the light of truth on 'em and watch them scurry like the rats they are!

Tim Foor

December 10, 2010 - 11:25am

When you get done wading through the empty brass & grenade pins to finally sit at your computer.
Put your beer can down for a moment and just try to read this.

Remember the 1st Amendment ? How it apply's to Reporters and Journalist ?

The information Disclosed wasn NOT "Classified".
The only reason the Gov't is Upset, is because it made them out to be the NO Good Scoundrels they are.

However, I agree that is was under Poor Personal Judgement and Distasteful in committing this act.

So Far, NOTHING Serious has come out of this. Except Hillary making phone calls.
It's Laughable ! Let it go !

Conster74

December 10, 2010 - 5:03pm

Before we pursue this, we need to sit back and take stock of what damage was ACTUALLY DONE. If it's only the wounding of pride in yanking down government officials trousers for the world to see that would be considerably less than if, say, Korea got their hands on nuclear secrets, or something of the sort. Its one thing that Assange pretty much cheap shotted us in the balls but what makes it a crying shame is that the gov. officials weren't held accountable by We the People, beforehand. Yes, maybe a criminal prosecution for Assange is in order, BUT...! So is one for all of the players. And as for "I was just following orders" that did not wash during the Nuremburg trials and nor will it cut the mustard today. If you commit a war crime or ordered one committed then YOU are the one who should be screwed, not just the whistleblower.
And I think its high time we increased our public scrutiny anyway. They've gotten away with too much for far too long, we need to hold them accountable.

JERRY WARREN

December 10, 2010 - 9:03pm

I HOPE THE GENTLEMAN IS ENJOYING THE RIGHTS THE COUNTRY THAT HE IS DEGRADEING AND COMITTING TREASION AGAINST GAVE HIM. THOSE REGHTS HAVE BEEN PAID FOR WITH A LOT OF BLOOD FROM THE MILTARY THAT IS PROTECTING HIM.I PUT HIM IN THE SAME BOAT WITH THE LADY WE FOUGHT FOR IN VIET NAM. A LOT OF YOUNG BOYS DIED FOR HER RIGHTS TO DENOUNCE THAT WAR AND COST THE MEN COMING HOME A WELCOME THEY NEVER GOT. PEOPLE AT HOME OR OVERSEAS DON'T NEED TO HEAR OR SEE SOME THINGS, THAT'S WHY THEY ARE NOT PRINTED FOR THEM. THANK YOU

Darrell N Middleton

December 11, 2010 - 10:12am

This will be viewed as a turbulent time in American history. An information war with politicians and corporations opposing by fair means and foul, Wikileaks and a growing number of citizens who are fed up with the corruption and the double standards to be found in our current society. I choose not to declare my support for either, but follow events with great interest. Should Wikileaks and Julian Assange not be 'put down' that movement will inevitably become as corrupt as the system they are trying to end. On the other hand, we are treated every day to revelations of bungling and corruption emanating from our military and corporations.
I say let Assange and Wikileaks embarrass and expose as much as they can until at least a fair percentage of those now feeding at the public trough are replaced, and then institute much needed reforms. We all know that won't happen.

The-Wanderer

December 11, 2010 - 8:20pm

Come on people... have any of you even considered what treason is? Let me refresh your memories:

trea·son
   /ˈtrizən/
–noun
1. the offense of acting to overthrow one's government or to harm or kill its sovereign.
2. a violation of allegiance to one's sovereign or to one's state.
3. the betrayal of a trust or confidence; breach of faith.

OK... is the man a citizen of the United States? No, he is not. So by the very definition of the term he is not "acting to overthrow one's government" or "to harm or kill its sovereign". Since he is not a citizen of this country, he cannot, again by definition, be guilty of "a violation of allegiance to one's sovereign or to one's state" with regard to the United States. Nor has he betrayed "a trust or confidence".

Now if the Australian government wishes to try him for treason in the Australian court system, this is up the them. However, the idea of Julian Assange being tried for treason in this country is ludicrous.

Hayek89

December 12, 2010 - 7:38pm

The case against the private is clear. There may also be a strong case against coorporations who assisted him.

The case against Assange is not so clear. What authority does the U.S. government have over a non-US citizen living outside the U.S? What legal obligation does Assange have to follow or care about what classification the U.S. places on a document?

The Chinese government has no authority over me. If I could find Chinese secrets regarding their military, diplomatic strategy, or human rights abuses, I would publish them in a heartbeat. I have no obligation whatsoever to respect their laws or their will if I don't set foot in China. The only difference is that they are the “bad guys” and we are the “good guys,” but that isn’t a legal difference.

Assange is a low life, and I'll have no personal sympathy for him if he is tried, but I don't see the legal argument against him. The real issue is the incompetence of a system that allowed the information to leak.

rob_maj_sr

December 13, 2010 - 2:33am

I feel that those government employees who facilitated the theft and release of confidential information to Assange should be held accountable for their actions. I feel that Assange should be held accountable for his actions in accepting and distributing the stolen confidential information. I also feel it appropriate that any organization that further facilitates the distribution of stolen confidential government information thru Wikileaks or other new and upcoming points of release should be held equally accountable for their actions. Not for Public Release, Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret information is so classified for a reason. To release such documentation without official government authorization, requires each individual and accessory involved, to be held accountable.

Hayek89

December 13, 2010 - 7:20am

But to whom is Assange accountable? He isn't a U.S. citizen and isn't on U.S. soil. He is a dirt bag, but what obligation does he have to respect U.S. law?

Buckeyebill

December 15, 2010 - 1:11pm

Julian Assange will be accountable to an American bullet and its coming...............

martinisns

December 15, 2010 - 7:20am

Some Commenters need to get more serious about educating themselves before they speak in public. If you want to participate in grown up discussions, you should act like grown ups. There are some major problems within the American Government and I whole heartedly believe that things need to change, however, I dont go around calling them criminals or slandering them because of their national origin or religion. For many of you Veterans, did we not serve for years in difficult and life threatening situations to defend peoples right to be equal and not discrimated against because of those reasons? Now some of you wish to bring those discriminations to bear against those that were elected by the American people to run our nation. If you disagree with them and did vote, better luck next time on getting your candidate into office. If you didnt vote, you have no right to complain about them until you do vote.

The-Wanderer

December 16, 2010 - 3:24pm

>
>> I feel that Assange should be held accountable
>> for his actions in accepting and distributing the
>> stolen confidential information.
>
Uh... yeah about that. Major television, print, and news organizations are publishing and commenting on this information. It is no different than when the contents of the Pentagon Papers was published.

Now before we go off on a tangent as to whether Mr. Assange is an official or "reputable" journalist, it should be noted that there is basically NO legal precedent for bringing legal charges against the man on this basis. So far, the only serious basis that has been considered for charging him concerns whether he was involved in the actual "snatch" of the material. If he was not, there is very little chance for charges to stick. Ask just about anyone with a legal background.

Besides, I don't see what he did that was so wrong. I think he's an arrogant donkey, but then that's never been illegal in this country.

The-Wanderer

December 16, 2010 - 3:22pm

Geeze... you gotta love it when the verb "to s n a t c h" as in "to s n a t c h classified material" is removed as obscene language. :-)

rob_maj_sr

December 17, 2010 - 12:02pm

You write:
>> "Besides, I don't see what he did that was so wrong."

I would agree, you don't see the difference between right and wrong. Nonetheless, I prayed for you today, I prayed that your understanding of right vs wrong will someday be learned through experience with God's intervention and maybe some sound council. I am sure you will have a flashy response here. And when I read it, I will again pray forgivness upon you.

I also pray our legal system will indeed work through the difference as well and justice will prevail.

-peace be with you, good day.

The-Wanderer

December 17, 2010 - 12:26pm

;-)

AmericanPatriot

December 23, 2010 - 8:43pm

The fact is that Mr. Assange works for the C.I.A. and Wikileaks is a set up tool for "fools" who fall for it. All the "leaks" are declassified U.S. Govt. documents that are readily available to the public and are harmless, if one knows where to look for them. Some of those "classified" documents are made to disclose some curious details about world leaders without any liability to the Government. This is a tactical maneuvre to check how many of "naturally curious" people will be interested in reading truly Classified documents. A list of computer IP addresses, names etc. is made, to address it later, if need arises. Now you can all "laugh".

Sincerely,

A True American Patriot

The-Wanderer

December 29, 2010 - 5:26pm

Well... since I already lost my top-secret security clearance for getting engaged to an Iranian national and not telling TPTB, I'm sure that, when they find out I have been perusing classified documents on Wikileaks, they'll know exactly where to find me. :-)

TonyC51

May 27, 2011 - 5:45am

If the information leaked with secret war related information, then he should be treated as a spy.

If the information leaked is exposing corruption by officials, then I do not consider it a crime against the USA, rather it helps us clean up our own act.

IMHO, Records of the votes of our representatives should be open records, except in cases of national security and privacy of 3rd party individuals.

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