Senator Lieberman attacks WikiLeaks with SHIELD Act

File photo of Independent Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut.

Sen. Lieberman ranks high among those who consider WikiLeaks a terrorist organization. (Photo Credit: Public Domain/U.S. Senate/Wikipedia)

Independent Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, along with Republican Senators John Ensign of Nevada and Scott Brown of Massachusetts, have co-sponsored a bill that would effectively make what WikiLeaks does illegal, reports Wired. Entitled the Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination (SHIELD) Act, the proposed legislation would make it a federal crime for anyone to publish the name of a U.S. intelligence source.

Joe Lieberman wants to shield U.S. from transparency

While the SHIELD Act will not put Julian Assange or WikiLeaks in legal jeopardy over what has already happened with “Cablegate” – the Constitution prohibits ex post facto criminal laws – it will protect national security moving forward, said Joe Lieberman. In a written statement, Lieberman said that protecting the interests of the United States and its allies, including the safety of government employees and others who depend upon the security of classified information is paramount.

“This (SHIELD Act) will help hold people criminally accountable who endanger these sources of information that are vital to protecting our national security interests,” he said.

SHEILD Act amends Espionage Act

The proposed SHIELD Act would alter the verbiage of the Espionage Act in order to extend the protections already granted to various forms of classified data into the realm of human intelligence. As the SHIELD bill reads, it would become a criminal act to publish information “concerning the identity of a classified source or informant of an element of the intelligence community of the United States” or “concerning the human intelligence activities of the United States or any foreign government” if the data is “prejudicial to U.S. interests.”

From video games to WikiLeaks

In what could perhaps be called a step up the ladder in terms of importance, Wired points out that Sen. Joe Lieberman has come a long way since co-sponsoring the failed 2005 Family Entertainment Protection Act bill, which would have called for a federal mandate on the enforcement of the Entertainment Software Ratings Board system. After leading the charge to pressure Amazon.com and data visualization company Tableau to blacklist Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks, Sen. Lieberman’s bill could raise a host of questions journalists covering the intelligence community will be forced to consider.

Sources

Washington Post

Wired

Text of the Shield Act

Shield Act

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