Sen. Jim Risch: WikiLeaks document publications ‘treasonous’

From the Idaho Statesman

WASHINGTON — Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, who sits on both the Senate Intelligence and Foreign Relations committees, called for prosecuting not only the website’s Australian founder, Julian Assange, but other news organizations involved.

“Anyone who would do this has no regard for their country, and this is a complete departure from the allegiance that people need to have for their country,” he said. “Our State Department operations and our intelligence operations depend on the integrity of the people that are involved.”

He conceded that the documents released so far have been more embarrassing than dangerous.

In the short term, they’ve done little more than make it more difficult for diplomats to have candid discussions, he said.

The news organizations given access to the documents and WikiLeaks said they took great care to ensure no one would be put in danger. In stories about the documents, several newspapers said they voluntarily withheld information.

They also cooperated with the State Department and the Obama administration to ensure the information they published wouldn’t endanger lives or national security.

Risch suggested that the nation’s laws on disclosing secret information need revamping to reflect today’s technology.

There also needs to be a careful review of how information is shared within the U.S. government’s diplomatic and espionage arms, he said.

Regardless, if information is secret, top secret or classified, Risch said he believes anyone who handles it — including the news media — should “be bound by the laws that protect that information.”

“There are limits to the First Amendment, and in my judgment, information that is secret, top secret or classified, should be held that way,” he said.

From the Idaho Statesman

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