Rep. Peter King (R-NY), the incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is urging the Obama administration to classify WikiLeaks as a terrorist organization, so the U.S. can seize its assets and go after anyone who helps the site and its muckraker-in-chief, Julian Assange. (See 5 possible repercussions of "cablegate.") Some conservatives are even calling for a military response against Assange, or wondering why U.S. spooks haven't killed him already. As WikiLeaks continues to reveal U.S. diplomatic secrets, does King's plan make sense? (Watch a Fox News discussion about the charge)
Technically, King has a strong case: Putting an unarmed website in the same category as al Qaeda may seem far-fetched, says Chris Good in The Atlantic, but it actually "seems to follow logically from statements" made by the State Department itself. If WikiLeaks' latest data dump endangers countless lives, as the U.S. claims, Assange just "made it easier for terrorists to engage in terrorist activity," even if he never lays a finger on anyone. That's enough, legally.
"WikiLeaks as terrorists"
Let's not dumb down terrorism: It's a bad idea to start "diluting the terrorist watch list into a general enemies list," says Ed Morrissey in Hot Air. "Assange may be a contemptible parasite," but none of our allies will "buy a charge of terrorism," and that will weaken our hand when we try to extradite "actual terrorists." Better to charge him with his real crime: Espionage.
"WikiLeaks a 'terrorist organization?'"
WikiLeaks is actually helping: There are embarrassing details in this latest document dump, says The New York Sun in an editorial, but "when one digs through all the chaff here there's not much that makes America look bad." In fact, there are so many things that might actually "work to our advantage" — letting Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi know, for instance, how inappropriate his behavior has been — that it's hard not to wonder if "maybe Julian Assange is an American agent."
"Is Assange an American agent?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How I lost all my money
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- How to make the ultimate grilled cheese
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- George W. Bush 'ran the country like a cable network,' and other political insights from Chris Rock
- How Wall Street is chipping away at reform
- 10 things you need to know today: December 21, 2014
- A brief history of the Christmas present
Subscribe to the Week