Officials in Washington, DC and abroad have widely condemned the publishing of secret documents by the WikiLeaks website. With its latest document dispatches in November, the site initiated the simultaneous publishing of State Department confidential cables with foreign embassies in the New York Times and four European newspapers.
Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee said in a Fox News interview that WikiLeaks should be prosecuted for violating the Espionage Act. Regarding the New York Times and other news outlets, Lieberman added "whether they have committed a crime is a matter of discussion for the justice department."
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed last week that she also believed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could be prosecuted under the Espionage Act – a law passed in 1917 shortly after the U.S. entered World War I – for the publication of classified diplomatic cables.
Politicians, scholars and journalists have all weighed in on the constitutionality of Assange’s proposed prosecution, and the Justice Department has indicated that it is considering a number of options. Today, the House Judiciary Committee hosted a panel of Constitutional Law and national security scholars to look at the question.