King Re-Introduces Bill to Strengthen DOJ Authority to Prosecute Leaks of Intelligence

Feb 15, 2011 Issues: WikiLeaks

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, re-introduced legislation that will give the Department of Justice additional tools to prosecute future disclosures by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange or similar organizations. 

“The SHIELD Act,” H.R. 703, amends current law to clarify that it is an act of espionage to publish the protected names of American intelligence sources who collaborate with the U.S military or intelligence community. 

King previously called on Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute Assange under the Espionage Act.  The SHIELD Act (The Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination Act) provides greater authority to the Attorney General for prosecuting leaks of intelligence delivered by human sources. 

King said: “Julian Assange and his associates who have operated and supported WikiLeaks not only damaged U.S. 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.  As international pressure has held back Assange, we now find that his colleagues are planning to spin off a new website called OpenLeaks, dedicated to the same dangerous conduct.  These organizations are a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States.   Julian Assange and his compatriots are enemies of the U.S and should be prosecuted under the Espionage Act.  This legislation provides the Attorney General with additional authority to do just that.”

Last year, in the 111th Congress, King introduced this legislation, as the House companion to a bill introduced in the Senate by Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA).  Last week, the Senators re-introduced their companion legislation.  

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