Wikileaks a “terrorist organization”?

posted at 11:35 am on November 29, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Does Wikileaks belong on the same list as al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and FARC?   Rep. Peter King (R-NY) think so.  In a statement earlier today on MSNBC, King proposed adding Wikileaks to the State Department list of terrorist organizations in order to make it easier for the US to seize its assets and intimidate its allies:

Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican who is scheduled to become chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Monday that WikiLeaks should be designated a terrorist organization for releasing hundreds of thousands of secret and classified government documents.

“The benefit of that is, we would be able to seize their assets and we would be able to stop anyone from helping them in any way,” King said, appearing on MSNBC.

King also hinted at getting WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange, extradited for prosecution in the U.S. Naming WikiLeaks a terrorist group would help the U.S. government, he said, “as far as trying to get them extradited, trying to get them to take action against them.”

“Either we’re serious about this or we’re not. I know people may think this is a bit of a stretch, but I analogize it as the RICO statute, where they had a pretty narrow definition of criminal enterprise in the beginning, but now that’s been expanded quite a bit to deal with contemporary problems,” King said.

King likely stands on more solid ground on a RICO prosecution than a terrorist designation.  Even RICO might be a stretch, however.  The Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations law allowed prosecutors to charge and convict anyone involved in organized crime with the crimes of the entire organization as long as prosecutors could show that each member directly benefited from the overall enterprise.  If the Department of Justice really wanted to go after Assange on espionage, though, it could simply charge Assange with conspiracy without the RICO predicate as well as the obvious crimes of revealing classified material.  If Assange did that from abroad, the subject of jurisdiction might be tricky, but RICO neither helps or hurts with that anyway.

There is a greater danger in diluting the terrorist watch list into a general enemies list, however.  One of the reasons why King proposes this course of action is to get greater cooperation on extraditing Assange.  However, we get that cooperation on terrorism because of the focus this list has on actual terrorism, which other nation-states rightly see as a direct and existential challenge to the very concept of nation-states.  Espionage is another matter entirely, especially since almost every nation indulges in it themselves, and see that as part of the natural interplay between diplomacy and national security.

If we start adding people and organizations to the terror watch list for espionage and for other non-terror reasons simply to get that kind of cooperation, that cooperation will cease to exist at all.  When it comes to actual terrorists, we will find ourselves mired in extradition parameters meant for civil crimes, with all of the attendant red tape and delays the terror watch list and international efforts usually bypass.  Assange may be a contemptible parasite, but no one will buy a charge of terrorism — and attempting to press that case will undermine our credibility where we need to retain it most.


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Comment pages: 1 2

I agree with Ed’s position. I doubt this is practical, but I would love to see Assange put on trial in Afghanistan for his role is Taliban reprisals against Afghan civilians, most of whom were killed in horrible ways.

I can’t think of a better outcome than a wispy 130 pound ego case like Assange in a third world jail, at the mercy of Islamic justice and begging to be transferred to a country that grants its enemies and criminals the civil rights that America does.

Kaisersoze on November 29, 2010 at 5:09 PM

And an American stationed in Europe can confront him with extreme prejudice and make it look like suicide.

Art. I Sec. 8. Check it out.

Akzed on November 29, 2010 at 3:58 PM

Make it look like sexual auto-asphyxiation. Given his record that will look credible.

slickwillie2001 on November 29, 2010 at 5:10 PM

Key West Reader,

Quit with the ebonics already. It’s childish and idiotic, if not worse.

SCBradley on November 29, 2010 at 5:11 PM

Libertarian. Welcome.

j_galt on November 29, 2010 at 3:06 PM

Some of the libertarians in this thread spell out very clearly why I’m NOT a libertarian, although some conservatives here have called me that on occasion. Libertarianism is an extremist, Utopian ideology that disregards our national sovereignty and right to self defense.

That’s why they are and shall ever remain a pathetic fringe party.

FloatingRock on November 29, 2010 at 5:23 PM

Manning should face a life in prison as a traitor.

Assange should face the full repertoire of undercover CIA operations.

Don’t forget the managers/officers/IT system designers. At the very least, pick 10-20 of those who made it possible for ‘a nobody’ to leak a quarter of a million cables possible and kick them out of their jobs ASAP.

NORUK on November 29, 2010 at 6:20 PM

Aiding and abetting terrorists is what WikiLeaks is doing, so yeah…they’re accomplices.

jediwebdude on November 29, 2010 at 6:37 PM

Peter King also thinks the TSA is a needed organization.

He’s a lunatic.

Spathi on November 29, 2010 at 6:38 PM

Assnage and crew are freelance anarchist spies, and need to be silenced permanently to protect our security.

They endanger lives with their ruthless chaos.

So their own need to be endangered in return.

profitsbeard on November 29, 2010 at 8:07 PM

Why aren’t we reading about this POS’s mysterious accidental death instead of his latest treason? At least I wouldn’t have to look at his ugly pecker face everywhere.

2ipa on November 29, 2010 at 9:17 PM

From Zero Hedge:

Wikileaks Next Target: “A Big US Bank.”

“This is gonna be BIG.”
–William Shatner

Emperor Norton on November 29, 2010 at 9:34 PM

He looks like a wooose, be done with him… Another useless leftist the world needs to be done with… I’d respect him, but that’s how he feels about me…

M-14 2go on November 29, 2010 at 9:58 PM

From Zero Hedge (investment site):

Wikileaks Next Target: “A Big US Bank.”

“This is gonna be BIG.”
–William Shatner

Emperor Norton on November 30, 2010 at 12:00 AM

In light of what’s already been revealed, would an “unauthorized” hit really change the game much?

Ronnie on November 30, 2010 at 12:04 AM

(Sorry for the duplicate post. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.)

Emperor Norton on November 30, 2010 at 12:22 AM

Assnage and crew are freelance anarchist spies, and need to be silenced permanently to protect our security.

They endanger lives with their ruthless chaos.

So their own need to be endangered in return.

profitsbeard on November 29, 2010 at 8:07 PM

Such an odd concept… anarchist spies… I wonder why he let’s himself to become such a target, historically no sane nation would allow him to continue this.

scotash on November 30, 2010 at 3:33 AM

WITH ALL DUE respect, it’s mostly an academic question. Yes, there needs to be accountability, but however it happens, what matters is that it DOES happen in a big way. We must stop further leaks and foreign efforts to stymie the projection of American power abroad.

The various mixed-up and inarticulate reactions from the hard right and left to this tragic set of leaks shows the two opposing poles of our political life foolishly polarized in self-defeating ways. Political point-scoring seems to be trumping shared American identity and values in fresh, disturbing ways — ways that, even a year ago, would have been unthinkable to me.

The WikiLeaks affair should remind any American who cares about his or her country that the left and right have certain sacred common causes which need to be above petty politics. Full stop.

Whatever your views of the Times, here we have a mainstream American newspaper actively seeking to undermine its own nation’s diplomatic service. What makes it any better, in this action, than Wikileaks? I can hardly see a distinction. It has voluntarily assumed the role of deciding what intelligence can harm US interests. Sorry, Bill Keller — I didn’t elect you; you don’t get to decide what information deserve the traditional governmental cloak of diplomatic secrecy.

In some reactions to this news, certain libertarians have made the strained argument that government transparency should obviate the concept of state secrecy altogether, putting them essentially in bed with the champagne socialists at the Times who carelessly trample upon the American people. So now we have to worry about the la-dee-dah libs of Manhattan in cahoots with libertarians?

Hmmm. Could it possibly be that NEITHER truly gives a flying f**k, in the end, about their own country?

bifidis on November 30, 2010 at 9:31 AM

Peter King is a total sh** of the first order. For many years he was the IRAs chief water carrier in the USA and supported their terrorist activities in every possible way, including the killing of civilians with bombs planted in pubs, shopping centres etc. He has never shown any remorse for his support of these murderous criminals. He was also instrumental in blocking the extradition back to the UK of convicted terrorists who had escaped from prison in Northern Ireland.
After 9/11 he changed his tune about terrorism but for this Brit he remains a tainted, hypocritical weasel who needs to be handled with a very long pair of disinfectant soaked tongs..

callingallcomets on November 29, 2010 at 3:20 PM

Wow thanks for the info – I didn’t even know who this guy was. I spent my childhood in Belfast in the 1980s (I’m Protestant) before emigrating and so I’m particularly horrified by that. He obviously has no moral standing to determine who is and isn’t a terrorist.

CityFish on November 30, 2010 at 11:20 AM

DDOS attack on Wikileaks now at 10 gigabites per second according to Tapper via WeazelZippers.

Oh, and also from WeaselZippers:

THEN ClimateGate emails:
The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won’t be posted here.

NOW Wikileaks purloined docs:
The Times believes that the documents serve an important public interest, illuminating the goals, successes, compromises and frustrations of American diplomacy in a way that other accounts cannot match.

Akzed on November 30, 2010 at 12:30 PM

Sorry, both quotes from NYT.

Akzed on November 30, 2010 at 12:31 PM

Peter King forged links with leaders of the IRA and Sinn Fein in Ireland, and in America he hooked up with Irish Northern Aid, known as Noraid, a New York based group that the American, British, and Irish governments accused of funneling guns and money to the IRA.

During his visits to Ireland, Mr. King would often stay with well-known leaders of the IRA, and he socialized in IRA drinking haunts. At one of such clubs, the Felons, membership was limited to IRA veterans who had served time in jail.
Mr. King would almost certainly have been red-flagged by British intelligence as a result, but the experience gave him plenty of material for the three novels he subsequently wrote featuring the IRA.

Peter King helped give the IRA a respectable face in America.

Much of the conventional weaponry and a great deal of the money necessary for IRA violence came from Irish-American sympathizers. Mr. King’s advocacy of the IRA’s cause encouraged that flow and earned him the deep-seated hostility of the British and Irish Goverments.

He has never shown remorse for this as other posters here the U.K have already said.
He is still backing an escaped convicted terrorist hiding illegally in the U.S.
If nobody has the time to read this,

http://kingwatch.blogspot.com/2008/06/king-gets-hypocritical-on-illegal-irish.html

The main quote is,
“My experience dealing with (Irish) republicans is that they don’t jump bail in this country. They honor their commitments. Based on my experience, and also the republican movement’s commitment to the peace process, I think he should get bail.”
An escaped convicted terrorist!

However Peter King was not on his own. Many others funded and politically helped the I.R.A.,even naming streets after them.
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE7D7143AF93AA25752C0A964958260&n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20Topics%2fOrganizations%2fS%2fSupreme%20Court%20

An escaped convicted terrorist!

mags on December 1, 2010 at 3:17 PM

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