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Designate Wikileaks as a terrorist organsation, says US lawmaker

November 30, 2010 03:27 IST

As the US grapples with the consequences of the latest WikiLeaks disclosures, an eminent Republican lawmaker asked the Obama administration to criminally charge Julian Assange and take a review to determine whether the whistle blower website could be designated a foreign terrorist organisation.

Republican Congressman Peter King, Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, said this in two separate letters to the Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In a letter to Holder, King wrote that the latest release by WikiLeaks of classified documents "manifests Mr Assange's purposeful intent to damage not only our national interests in fighting the war on terror, but also undermines the very safety of coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan".

In the letter to Clinton, King wrote that WikiLeaks presents a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States. "I strongly urge you to work within the Administration to use every offensive capability of the US government to prevent further damaging releases" by WikiLeaks.

"I am writing to request that you undertake an immediate review to determine whether WikiLeaks could be designated a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO) in accordance with Section 210 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)," King demanded.

He wrote that the US should work with the Swedish government to determine the means by which website's founder Assange can be brought to justice for his actions while recognising and respecting Swedish sovereign law. From the illegal release of the classified documents, King said, WikiLeaks appears to have met the legal criteria for an FTO designation as a foreign organisation engaging in terrorist activity which threatens the security of US nationals or the national security of the United States.

"The Department of Defense has already recognised that WikiLeaks' dissemination of classified US military and diplomatic documents affords material support to terrorist organisations, including Al Qaeda, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Al Shabaab, and Hezbollah," he wrote.

"The WikiLeaks releases provide valuable information and insights to FTOs throughout the world on US military and diplomatic sources and methods and allow our enemies to better prepare for future US and allied military, intelligence, and law enforcement operations targeting them. "In addition, the leaks allow nation-states such as Russia, China, and Iran access to information regarding how the United States collects, analyses, and produces intelligence products," King said.

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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