Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should review whether WikiLeaks can be declared a terrorist organization, according to a senior Republican.
Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.), the incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, called for U.S. officials to get aggressive against WikiLeaks after the website published highly sensitive, classified diplomatic cables that reveal frank assessments of foreign leaders and the war on terror.
"I am calling on the attorney general and supporting his efforts to fully prosecute WikiLeaks and its founder for violating the Espionage Act. And I'm also calling on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to declare WikiLeaks a foreign terrorist organization," King said on WNIS radio on Sunday evening.
"By doing that, we will be able to seize their funds and go after anyone who provides them help or contributions or assistance whatsoever," he said. "To me, they are a clear and present danger to America."
WikiLeaks has released thousands of cables that reveal embarrassing comments about foreign leaders and U.S. operations abroad. The White House and Clinton have been forced to conduct an outreach campaign to smooth the waters.
The Obama administration hasn't taken legal action against WikiLeaks, but has condemned the release in the harshest terms. But the clamor for legal action by lawmakers in both parties increased the pressure for prosecution based on the leaks.
Clinton has the authority to declare an organization a foreign terrorist organization (FTO), a formal designation that allows the U.S. government some leeway in taking action. The current list of 47 FTOs includes al Qaeda and its various offshoots; Hamas; and a variety of other groups.
King expressed confidence that other lawmakers in both parties would rally to his strategy toward WikiLeaks. The website CNET published excerpts of King's letter to Clinton on Sunday.
"I'm confident you'll find many people in the Congress, the House and Senate, who will support my demand for the prosecution, and also the declaring of WikiLeaks to be a foreign terrorist organization," he said.