Feinstein wants Holder to prosecute WikiLeaks founder

Sacramento BeeDecember 2, 2010 

Count Sen. Dianne Feinstein among those who believe that the leak of tens of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables is not only embarrassing and damaging to foreign policy, but illegal.

Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Thursday urged Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for espionage, along with "any and all of his possible accomplices."

"The unauthorized release of this information, including the recent release of approximately 250,000 State Department documents, is a serious breach of national security and could be used to severely harm the United States and its worldwide interests," the California Democrat wrote to Holder in the letter, which was also signed by the intelligence panel's Republican vice chairman, Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri.

WikiLeaks posted the cables on its website and provided them to news organizations. Assange is already the subject of an Interpol arrest warrant for question about sexual assault allegations in Sweden.

Holder said earlier this week that there is an active investigation into Assange.

Feinstein and Bond said they believe Assange's actions fall under the federal Espionage Act.

"If Mr. Assange and his possible accomplices cannot be charged under the Espionage Act (or any other applicable statute), please know that we stand ready and willing to support your efforts to 'close those gaps' in the law, as you also mentioned this week," they wrote.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Assange faced sexual assault charges in Sweden. Assange has not been chaarged with a crime.

Read more of this story at SacBee.com

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