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Key GOP Pol: WikiLeaks a Terrorist Group

This story was written by CNET's Declan McCullagh

The incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says WikiLeaks should be officially designated as a terrorist organization.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the panel's next head, asked the Obama administration today to "determine whether WikiLeaks could be designated a foreign terrorist organization," putting the group in the same company as Al Qaeda and Aum Shinrikyo, the Japanese cult that released deadly sarin gas on the Tokyo subway.

"WikiLeaks appears to meet the legal criteria" of a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, King wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reviewed by CNET. He added: "WikiLeaks presents a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States."

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King's letter was prompted by a massive document dump totaling more than 250,000 State Department diplomatic cables, which WikiLeaks gave in advance to news organizations, including Germany's Der Spiegel and Spain's El Pais, that began appearing on the Internet this morning. The White House has condemned the release, which Der Spiegel called "nothing short of a political meltdown for U.S. foreign policy."

King also wrote separately to Attorney General Eric Holder, asking him to "criminally charge WikiLeaks activist Julian Assange under the Espionage Act" for conspiracy to disclose classified information. The Espionage Act makes it illegal to disclose "information relating to the national defense" if that information could be used "to the injury of the United States."

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Links to Leaked Cables:

Cables Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels (NYT)
The US Embassy Cable (Guardian)
A Superpower's View of the World (Spiegel, in English)
Los papeles del Departamento de Estado (El Pais)
Wikileaks: Dans les coulisses de la diplomatie américaine (Le Monde)

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