Entries in Julian Assange (3)


Ralph Nader: Julian Assange Prosecution a 'Distraction' from Executive Branch Secrecy

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Ralph Nader, a leading consumer advocate and former presidential candidate, delivered a spirited public defense of WikiLeaks Thursday and called the prosecution of Julian Assange a “distraction” from a more disconcerting issue: the Obama and Bush administrations’ fixation with secrecy.

“If you take all of the present and probably future disclosures under the WikiLeaks initiative, the vast majority should never have been classified,” Nader told a House Judiciary Committee hearing on legal and constitutional issues surrounding WikiLeaks’ publication of secret government documents.

“The vast majority are reprehensible use of people employing taxpayer dollars, the vast majority should have been disclosed, if not, never stated for the benefit of the American people to hold their government accountable,” he said.

Nader praised WikiLeaks as a "whistleblower" and called the administration’s pending legal case against Assange a “very dangerous” diversion from what he views as encroachment of the executive branch on freedom of speech and the public’s right to know.

Attorney General Eric Holder has said WikiLeaks’ actions have put the lives of Americans at risk and that the Justice Department will prosecute those involved with the leak and worldwide dissemination of the materials.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Bipartisan Trio of Senators Introduces Bill Targeting Wikileaks

Photo Courtesy - Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, joined by Sen. John Ensign of Nevada and Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, introduced legislation Thursday to amend the Espionage Act in an effort to target Wikileaks and founder Julian Assange.
The lawmakers said their bill, known as the SHIELD Act, will help close gaps in the law and make it illegal to publish the names of sources in the U.S. military and intelligence communities.
"He is a computer hacker and an anarchist," Ensign said of Assange in a speech on the Senate floor Thursday. "Make no mistake -- these actions have harmed our friends and helped our enemies in a manner prejudicial to the safety and the national interest of the United States."
"I have no doubt that Julian Assange is going to put out another document on his website and another one after that and once he does, this bill will give the administration increased flexibility to deal with him and potentially other copy-cat organizations that aspire to his likeness," Ensign added.
Ensign attempted to address concerns that the bill could affect traditional media outlets by stating that "this bill does not target journalists" and "does not stop anyone from publishing leaks."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Ahead of Latest WikiLeaks' Release, State Dept. Warns Allies

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Photo Courtesy - BERTIL ERICSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With the website WikiLeaks set to release a new trove of sensitive information, the U.S. government is already bracing for the worldwide fallout, pre-emptively warning allies in the hope of lessening the blow once classified documents go public.

WikiLeaks and its controversial founder Julian Assange are reportedly prepared to publish a cache of information including hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables that could embarrass the U.S. government as well as other governments around the world. WikiLeaks said its next release will be seven times the size of its last leak in October, which contained some 400,000 Pentagon documents about the war in Iraq. Last July, WikiLeaks also published roughly 70,000 documents about the war in Afghanistan.

Senior U.S. officials warn that the next round of WikiLeaks documents would be considerably more damaging than the two previous WikiLeaks document dumps.

"This is outrageous and dangerous," a senior U.S. official told ABC News. "This puts at risk the ability of the United States to conduct foreign policy. Period. End of paragraph."

Although the State Department said it did not know specifically what could be released, the scope of the documents goes far beyond Iraq and Afghanistan, essentially detailing day-to-day operation of U.S. foreign policy, including summaries of confidential discussions with foreign officials and intelligence sources, and dissidents and opposition figures.

The big worry among U.S. authorities is that the documents would reveal names and detailed discussions with individuals who expected that their conversations with U.S. officials would be kept confidential. In the case of intelligence sources and dissidents in oppressive countries, this could put lives of U.S. sources at risk.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio