TITLE 18 PART I CHAPTER 37 § 793
§ 793. Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information
(a) Whoever, for the purpose of obtaining information respecting the national defense with intent or reason to believe that the information is to be used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation, goes upon, enters, flies over, or otherwise obtains information concerning any vessel, aircraft, work of defense, navy yard, naval station, submarine base, fueling station, fort, battery, torpedo station, dockyard, canal, railroad, arsenal, camp, factory, mine, telegraph, telephone, wireless, or signal station, building, office, research laboratory or station or other place connected with the national defense owned or constructed, or in progress of construction by the United States or under the control of the United States, or of any of its officers, departments, or agencies, or within the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States, or any place in which any vessel, aircraft, arms, munitions, or other materials or instruments for use in time of war are being made, prepared, repaired, stored, or are the subject of research or development, under any contract or agreement with the United States, or any department or agency thereof, or with any person on behalf of the United States, or otherwise on behalf of the United States, or any prohibited place so designated by the President by proclamation in time of war or in case of national emergency in which anything for the use of the Army, Navy, or Air Force is being prepared or constructed or stored, information as to which prohibited place the President has determined would be prejudicial to the national defense; or
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
TITLE 18, PART I, CHAPTER 37, § 794
§ 794. Gathering or delivering defense information to aid foreign government
(a) Whoever, with intent or reason to believe that it is to be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation, communicates, delivers, or transmits, or attempts to communicate, deliver, or transmit, to any foreign government, or to any faction or party or military or naval force within a foreign country, whether recognized or unrecognized by the United States, or to any representative, officer, agent, employee, subject, or citizen thereof, either directly or indirectly, any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, note, instrument, appliance, or information relating to the national defense, shall be punished by death or by imprisonment for any term of years or for life, except that the sentence of death shall not be imposed unless the jury or, if there is no jury, the court, further finds that the offense resulted in the identification by a foreign power (as defined in section 101(a) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978) of an individual acting as an agent of the United States and consequently in the death of that individual, or directly concerned nuclear weaponry, military spacecraft or satellites, early warning systems, or other means of defense or retaliation against large-scale attack; war plans; communications intelligence or cryptographic information; or any other major weapons system or major element of defense strategy. shall be punished by death or by imprisonment for any term of years or for life.
(b) Whoever, in time of war, with intent that the same shall be communicated to the enemy, collects, records, publishes, or communicates, or attempts to elicit any information with respect to the movement, numbers, description, condition, or disposition of any of the Armed Forces, ships, aircraft, or war materials of the United States, or with respect to the plans or conduct, or supposed plans or conduct of any naval or military operations, or with respect to any works or measures undertaken for or connected with, or intended for the fortification or defense of any place, or any other information relating to the public defense, which might be useful to the enemy,
TITLE 18, PART I, CHAPTER 37, § 798
§ 798. Disclosure of classified information
(a) Whoever knowingly and willfully communicates, furnishes, transmits, or otherwise makes available to an unauthorized person, or publishes, or uses in any manner prejudicial to the safety or interest of the United States or for the benefit of any foreign government to the detriment of the United States any classified information—
(1) concerning the nature, preparation, or use of any code, cipher, or cryptographic system of the United States or any foreign government; or
(2) concerning the design, construction, use, maintenance, or repair of any device, apparatus, or appliance used or prepared or planned for use by the United States or any foreign government for cryptographic or communication intelligence purposes; or
(3) concerning the communication intelligence activities of the United States or any foreign government; or
(4) obtained by the processes of communication intelligence from the communications of any foreign government, knowing the same to have been obtained by such processes—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
TITLE 18, PART I, CHAPTER 45, § 952
§ 952. Diplomatic codes and correspondence
Whoever, by virtue of his employment by the United States, obtains from another or has or has had custody of or access to, any official diplomatic code or any matter prepared in any such code, or which purports to have been prepared in any such code, and without authorization or competent authority, willfully publishes or furnishes to another any such code or matter, or any matter which was obtained while in the process of transmission between any foreign government and its diplomatic mission in the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
This guy is screwed. Based on the volume of classified documents leaked and the enduring revelation of more and more documents, it would not be surprising to see Manning made an example. He won’t be executed, but he may very well spend the rest of his life in a federal prison; hopefully, breaking big rocks into little rocks.
There has been a lot made of how this person could have had access to this volume of information. Well, it is called collaboration. Those who have been involved in national security know that different components of government focus on different issues, but all of these issues are inter-related. State Department officials need to know about military operations or threats in the area just as much as military personnel need to know about State Department officials efforts to rebuild an area or train locals on governance; both are critical issues in providing security.
Another point raised has been the age of Manning: how can a 22 year-old private have access to Ambassadorial correspondence. It’s simple really, because 22 year-olds do a lot of the analytical work for military units. Keep in mind, a lot of these folks have been serving for 2-4 years by the time they are 22, they’ve been to specialized training for long periods of time on intelligence analysis and most importantly, they’ve had extensive background investigations to gain access to the information. The system, writ large, didn’t fail here; he did. He betrayed the trust that was placed upon him, he betrayed the oath of service he took, and he is the one who has- more than anyone else- put the lives of those in the field at risk.
He deserves to be prosecuted at the fullest extent of the law, and if/when someone is killed as a result of this leaked data, he should be charged for that too.
In 1971, the US Supreme Court found in The New York Times Co. v. United States that once classified information was presented to the media, the first amendment superseded the Executives privileges to secure the data. An argument for this has been that the Judiciary and the Legislature have minimal checks and balances against the Executive on foreign policy and as such, the media in educating the populace may be the best and only real counter.
This means that while we may hate the New York Times and other media outlets for publishing the classified documents, there is little that can be done.
Is this a media outlet?
Wikileaks claims to be an international non-profit media organization. Its intent is to secure the privacy of leakers submitting documents of political, diplomatic, historical or ethical interest. Bottom line, the organization doesn’t believe in secrecy and thinks that they have the right to tell anyone anything they want.
This is an ultra-liberal, border-line anarchist organization that lives by a host of double standards. Wikileaks won’t reveal its donors and its editorial board- if you could call it that- is dominated by the whims of one man, Julian Assange. They refuse to open up about their internal structure, or the transparency of the business aspect of the site. And really, how can one in all seriousness make the claim that it is important to maintain the secrecy of the leaker who is leaking classified documents that the government needed to keep secret with a straight face. The organization is the epitome of hypocrisy.
And what about Assange? Here is the jewel of a man who has no problem exposing the dirty laundry of everyone else, but when asked a legitimate question about CRIMINAL CHARGES, well, he walks out in protest. I tell you what, if it wasn’t for double standards, liberals would have no standards at all.
The Obama Administration has loudly condemned the release of the documents, and Attorney General Holder has even gone so far to say that the Department of Justice is investigating the leaks. The world trembles I’m sure.
Whether or not any prosecutions come from the leaks, the damage done to US foreign policy and diplomatic relations will be significant. Senior leaders around the world will be reluctant to share confidential information with the US, and State Department interactions and engagement will come to a relative halt.
Part of diplomacy is the pomp and circumstance that comes with state level engagement, but the real meat of diplomatic engagement is behind closed doors and is done in secret. A good example of this is the recent revelation that the President Saleh in Yemen claimed the aerial bombardment that US forces were conducting against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. Why was this little deception important? Well, Yemen doesn’t have the technology or forces to effectively hunt down AQAP, but more importantly, the presence of US forces in Yemen would be incredibly unpopular and Saleh would require the secrecy to protect his support of US forces.
What is gained by popular knowledge of Saleh’s support? Nothing, but the consequences could be significant. Now, AQAP knows that it was the US- not Yemeni forces- targeting them and that allows them to fan popular anger at the presence of US forces, which further destabilizes an already shaky government, and will surely be seized upon by AQAP for recruitment. There is hardly an upside to this.
The Administration is going to have to put more than lip service to this. Assange is already threatening that another release of documents is pending. If the damage from this release is any indication of what is to come, then stopping that release is imperative.
UPDATE 1 1 December 2010
Assange’s details were also added to Interpol’s worldwide wanted list. Dated 30 November, the entry reads: “sex crimes” and says the warrant has been issued by the international public prosecution office in Gothenburg, Sweden.
UPDATE 2 1 December 2010
From an Investor Business Daily editorial.
10 Wikileaks Questions for Obama
1. Attorney General Eric Holder says he’s weighing charges against Assange and WikiLeaks under the Espionage Act. What has taken him so long? Assange has been working loudly against America for 18 months, releasing stolen documents on Iraq and Afghanistan for more than a year, amid reports of repercussions against U.S. allies. Shouldn’t Holder have done something long ago?
2. Chased out of Europe, Assange moved his server to Amazon.com. Explain again why a U.S. company is facilitating this sleazy trafficker in stolen secret data without a court order to shut it down? Last week, the White House shut Web sites trafficking fake Prada handbags. Why does it do nothing here?
3. A private hacker called the “Jester” claims he’s successfully enacted a denial of service attack against WikiLeaks. But with all its resources, why hasn’t the United States government blown WikiLeaks and all its mirror sites off the air instead? America’s ally Colombia has destroyed FARC terrorist Web sites, taking info-terror as seriously as it takes jungle warfare. A Colombian embassy spokesperson told IBD the country has an unofficial military unit just for the purpose. And we don’t?
4. The New York Times, the U.K.’s Guardian, Spain’s El Pais and Germany’s Der Spiegel are working hand-in-hand with Assange, publishing his stolen documents, effectively serving as a backup to disseminate the documents even if WikiLeaks gets shut down. Why aren’t these beneficiaries of freedom of the press who turn on its chief defender being prosecuted? News organizations such as CNN recognized this criminality for what it was and, unlike the Times, wouldn’t touch the story.
5. Sweden has an open book of unrelated rape charges against Assange, who is Australian. And to its credit, it has denied him asylum. But why was he sheltered there for so long? And why hasn’t the Obama administration been able to get him extradited?
6. After Hillary Clinton showered Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s anti-American president, with praise and kisses this year, that country has offered Assange asylum. Where is the U.S. muscle, along with a hard threat to pull Ecuador’s trade privileges and Federal Reserve support for its dollarization regime?
7. Assange’s initial collaborator was a troubled 22-year-old Army intelligence analyst, Private Bradley Manning. Who put him in his position and did political correctness about his gay orientation keep him there, much as it did with the crazed Islamofascist who shot up Fort Hood? Why was he permitted to see secret data?
8. Why are there 3 million other people with security clearances who can not only see diplomatic cables but also download them?
9. Where is the cooperation from other countries to bring Assange to justice? We thought President Obama would repair relations with so-called allies. Any slacking here ought to bring sanctions.
10. Where, for that matter, is president himself? Amid a 9/11-grade attack on U.S. diplomacy, the WikiLeaks debacle calls for strong statements signaling that America will take actions to punish this determined enemy. But beyond bland boilerplate, and at a time that calls for resolve and action, Obama has said and done nothing.