By Gautham Nagesh - 12/09/10 06:42 PM EST
Incoming House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Pete King (R-N.Y.) introduced a bill Thursday aimed at stopping WikiLeaks by making it illegal to publish the names of military or intelligence community informants. The bill is a companion to the Senate version unveiled last week.
King has previously called on Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange under the Espionage Act. He said the
Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination (SHIELD)
Act would give the Justice Department the authority to do exactly that.
“Julian Assange and his associates who operate and support WikiLeaks have not only damaged U.S. national security with their releases of classified documents, but also placed at risk countless lives, including those of our Nation’s intelligence sources around the world," King said in a statement.
The Senate version of the bill was sponsored by Sens. John Ensign (R-Nev.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Scott Brown
(R-Mass.) in response to WikiLeaks's publication of thousands of classified diplomatic cables, some of which have proven embarrassing to the U.S. government because of their frank tone.
Assange surrendered to police in London on Tuesday to face a Swedish arrest warrant for rape and sexual molestation allegations. He has been refused bail and plans to fight extradition to Sweden. Assange has denied any wrongdoing and called the allegations part of an international plot to stop WikiLeaks.
Credit card and payment processing firms such as Paypal, Visa and MasterCard have cut ties with WikiLeaks this week in response to pressure from the U.S. government. In response, a small army of activist hackers has launched denial of service attacks dubbed "Operation Payback" that has also targeted 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.