Today's Paper Archive Classifieds Subscriptions RSS Feeds Site Map ePaper Mobile Apps Social
SEARCH

News » International

Updated: November 30, 2010 18:41 IST

Assange could be charged under Espionage Act: report

PTI
Share  ·   print   ·  
A media report said on Tuesday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could be charged under the Espionage Act for making public classified U.S. government documents. File Photo
AP A media report said on Tuesday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could be charged under the Espionage Act for making public classified U.S. government documents. File Photo

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could be charged under the Espionage Act for making public classified U.S. government documents which he obtained illegally, a media report said here on Tuesday.

The U.S. authorities are investigating whether Mr. Assange, also Editor-in-Chief of the whistle-blower website, violated criminal laws by disclosing the classified information, ‘The Washington Post’ reported.

The FBI is examining everyone who came into possession of the documents, including those who gave the material to WikiLeaks and also the organisation itself, it said, citing those familiar with the probe.

According to the Post, charges against WikiLeaks and Mr. Assange could be filed under the Espionage Act.

“The Pentagon is leading the investigation and it remains unclear whether any additional charges would be brought in the military or civilian justice systems. Pfc. Bradley Manning, an Army intelligence analyst suspected of being the source of the WikiLeaks documents, was arrested by the military this year,” the daily reported.

Under the Espionage Act, anyone who has “unauthorised possession to information relating to the national defence” and has reason to believe it could harm the United States may be prosecuted if he publishes it or “wilfully” retains it when the government has demanded its return, Jeffrey H Smith, a former CIA general counsel, told the paper.

However, “no charges are imminent”, sources were quoted as saying, adding it is unclear whether any will be brought.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters that “the stealing of classified information and its dissemination is a crime.”

“We have an active, ongoing criminal investigation with regard to this matter. We are not in a position as yet to announce the result of that investigation, but the investigation is ongoing,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said.

“To the extent that we can find anybody who was involved in the breaking of American law and who has put at risk the assets and the people ..., they will be held responsible. They will be held accountable,” Mr. Holder said when asked if action could be taken against Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder and Editor-in-Chief.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. is taking aggressive steps to hold responsible those who stole this information.

“I have directed that specific actions be taken at the State Department in addition to new security safeguards at the Department of Defence and elsewhere to protect State Department information so that this kind of breach cannot and does not ever happen again,” she told reports.

Jeffrey H Smith told the post: “I’m confident that the Justice Department is figuring out how to prosecute him (Assange).”

Mr. Smith noted that the State Department general counsel Harold H Koh had sent a letter to Mr. Assange on Saturday urging him not to release the cables, return all classified material and destroy all secret records from WikiLeaks databases.

“That language is not only the right thing to do policy-wise but puts the government in a position to prosecute him,” he said.

RELATED NEWS

Assange is being persecuted in Sweden: lawyerDecember 2, 2010

WikiLeaks release sparks alarm over diplomacyNovember 30, 2010

Ecuador offers a home for Julian Assange November 30, 2010

Leaked cables confirm Iran’s threat: Hillary ClintonNovember 30, 2010

‘U.S. had multiple conversations with Indians over WikiLeaks’November 30, 2010

U.S. says leaks are a crime, threatens prosecution November 30, 2010

We don't give any value to WikiLeaks documents: Ahmadinejad November 30, 2010

‘China for expansion of G-20 role’November 30, 2010

North Korea problem revealedNovember 30, 2010

WikiLeaks to target major U.S. bank next: reportNovember 30, 2010

U.S. reviews handling of secret documentsNovember 30, 2010

Cable quotes Hillary as saying India is a 'self-appointed front runner' for UNSCNovember 30, 2010

Pakistan criticises release of secret U.S. cablesNovember 29, 2010

Obama created great hope in the Muslim world: Saudi KingNovember 29, 2010

Turkey did not invite India for meet on Afghanistan to appease Pak: WikiLeaksNovember 29, 2010

Iraqi Foreign Minister calls WikiLeaks ‘unhelpful’November 29, 2010

U.S. diplomats are not spies: CrowleyNovember 29, 2010

Wikileaks’ latest release includes 3,038 cables from New DelhiNovember 29, 2010

U.S. tries to suppress evidence of human rights: AssangeNovember 29, 2010

WikiLeaks takes cloak off U.S. diplomacyNovember 29, 2010

WikiLeaks to cause red faces at worst, says New Zealand premierNovember 29, 2010

Australian police investigate WikiLeaks’ disclosure of U.S. documentsNovember 29, 2010

Focus on the global espionage networkNovember 29, 2010

Unprecedented look at backroom bargaining November 29, 2010

Pentagon condemns release of secret documents as “reckless”November 29, 2010

Site under cyber attack, says WikiLeaksNovember 28, 2010

U.S. asks WikiLeaks to halt document release November 28, 2010

U.S. working to reduce tension between India and Pak: reportNovember 29, 2010

WikiLeaks: U.S. views India as "self-appointed frontrunner" in race for permanent UNSC seat November 29, 2010

U.S. behind Wikileaks disclosures, says IranNovember 29, 2010

Nations unhappy about secret U.S. diplomatic cablesNovember 29, 2010

WikiLeaks: Palestinians told of impending Gaza warNovember 29, 2010

U.S. tries to contain damage from leaked cablesNovember 29, 2010

WikiLeaks a very sensitive issue: Preneet November 29, 2010

Our diplomats are doing what their foreign counterparts do: U.S.November 30, 2010

Assange appeals against detention order November 30, 2010

More In: International | News
Musharraf Indictment
Is the Army losing its pivotal role in Pakistan politics?
Yes
No
Can't say


O
P
E
N

close

Recent Article in International

South Asian LGBT group links ‘third gender’ ruling to 377 issue

Following the Indian Supreme Court’s ruling on Tuesday to create a ‘third gender’ for transgendered individuals rather than forcing them... »