The Guardian reports:
Joe Lieberman, the chair of the Senate homeland security committee, told Fox News: “To me the New York Times has committed at least an act of, at best, bad citizenship, but whether they have committed a crime is a matter of discussion for the justice department.”
Lieberman also said that the department of justice should indict Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, under the 1917 Espionage Act and try to extradite him from the UK. Asked why this had not happened, Lieberman admitted there was probably an argument going on over how to charge Assange.
“I think this is the most serious violation of the Espionage Act in our history,” Lieberman said, adding: “It sure looks to me that Assange and WikiLeaks have violated the Espionage Act.”
At the daily state department briefing in Washington, DC, Philip Crowley, the department’s press spokesman, said: “What WikiLeaks has done is a crime under US law.”
The Guardian appears to have misquoted Crowley. According to the transcript of yesterday’s briefing, he said:
What we’re investigating is a crime under U.S. law. The provision of 250,000 classified documents from someone inside the government to someone outside the government is a crime. We are investigating it. And as we’ve said, we will hold those responsible fully accountable. That investigation is still ongoing.
From all the information currently available, the only individual who is believed to have committed a crime is Private First Class Bradley Manning. He has been has been arrested and charged with the unauthorized use and disclosure of classified information.
The New York Times reporter David Sanger told NPR:
The Times knew that this material was going to be out there anyway. We didn’t get the initial leak,” he says. “If we had done nothing — if we had ignored it — I think it would have looked strange. I think that also would have been irresponsible. It is the responsibility of American journalism, back to the founding of this country, to get out and try to grapple with the hardest issues of the day and to do it independently of the government.
Which is why the Times‘ sycophantic executive editor, Bill Keller, consulted with the administration for advice on each of the cables it has published. So much for “independence.”