Sept. 1, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Members See Little Recourse for WikiLeaks

“The problem here is there was a massive failure in the design of this database,” the Michigan Republican said. “I’m expecting there will be hearings, maybe even a commission, looking at this massive failure.”

Hoekstra said he has been told that at least 500,000 people and as many as 2.5 million had access to the database. “How do you make it available to the private first class in Baghdad?” Hoekstra asked, referring to the alleged leaker of the information. “Are we that bad? And the answer appears to be yes.”

Rep. Peter King, who is in line to become chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, on Sunday called for the prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for espionage, and he urged Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to designate WikiLeaks as a terrorist group.

“WikiLeaks presents a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States,” the New York Republican said. “I strongly urge you to work within the administration to use every offensive capability of the U.S. government to prevent further damaging releases by WikiLeaks.”

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the administration was not ruling out taking legal action against WikiLeaks.

“Administration-wide, we are looking at a whole host of things and I wouldn’t rule anything out,” Gibbs said at his daily press briefing Monday, calling the leak “a serious violation of the law.”

But Harman said she didn’t agree with King. She said that she didn’t think WikiLeaks itself should be prosecuted, adding that she favors a media shield law.

She also said that she supports giving the public more information, but not a massive dump of sensitive information such as the latest WikiLeaks trove.

“I support increased access to government information, and it’s my bill [President] Obama just signed to reduce overclassification of information, but that doesn’t mean I’m for dumping classified information out on the streets,” she said.

Hoekstra said he agrees with Harman that there is too much overclassification. But he said it’s an interesting question of whether WikiLeaks, the New York Times or any other organization involved in the leak can be prosecuted.

“The bottom line is we’ve got to create an environment where we have a higher degree of confidence where we can keep information secret that needs to be secret,” he said.

Sen. Kit Bond, ranking member on the Senate Intelligence Committee, also demanded answers.

“The [Intelligence] Committee members need a dedicated briefing or hearing about the extent of the damage, what the [intelligence community] is doing to mitigate damage, and what the U.S. government is doing to try to stop such leaks in the future,” the Missouri Republican said. “I also would like to know how someone had such unfettered access to this information that he could go unnoticed while downloading hundreds of thousands of documents.”

Jessica Brady contributed to this report.

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