Lieberman Floats Bill to Kill WikiLeaks

Naming a US intelligence source would be federal crime
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2010 1:14 PM CST
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

(Newser) – Joe Lieberman and a number of other senators have introduced legislation that would make it a crime to publish the name of a US intelligence source, in an explicit attack on WikiLeaks. The recent release of State Department cables “is just the latest example of how our national security interests … are jeopardized by the illegal release of classified and sensitive information,” Lieberman said in a statement. “This legislation will help hold people criminally accountable who endanger these sources of information.”

Dubbed the SHIELD act (Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination), the law would expand the Espionage Act provision that forbids publishing information about wiretaps or “cryptographic secrets” to include human intelligence sources. But the law could have problematic free speech implications, Kevin Poulsen of Wired points out. “For example, former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega was once a paid CIA asset," he writes. "Would reporting that now be a crime?”

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