Thursday, December 9, 2010

What Laws Did WikiLeaks Break?

On December 6th, the Congressional Research Service issued a timely report: Criminal Prohibitions on the Publication of Classified Defense Information.

The 24-page report covers the Espionage Act and other criminal laws. The analysis finds that

there is ample statutory authority for prosecuting individuals who elicit or disseminate most of the documents at issue, as long as the intent element can be satisfied and potential damage to national security can be demonstrated.
It also addresses the extraterritoriality of the Espionage Act and extradition and First Amendment issues. And it briefly reviews Senate bill 4004, introduced on December 2d, the Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination Act, which proposes to deal with situations like that presented by the WikiLeaks dissemination of State Department cables and correspondence.

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