Wikileaks disclosure of information not terrorist act: U.S. spokesman

November 30, 2010 10:52 am 

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 — The United States sees the unauthorized disclosure of information by the whistleblower website Wikileaks as a crime but not "a terrorist act," U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said on Monday.

He was responding to a question about Republican congressman Peter King's wish to see Wikileaks declared a foreign terrorist organization. As a ranking member of the House of Representatives' Homeland Security Committee, King said in a statement on Sunday that the State Department should designate WikiLeaks as a "foreign terrorist organization," since it posed a "clear and present danger" to the U.S. national security.

Despite warnings from the State Department and the White House, Wikileaks released some 250,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables on Sunday, shedding light on clandestine activities by U.S. diplomats including spying on UN leadership and permanent Security Council representatives of France, China, Britain and Russia. The cables also offer an insight into back-room bargaining, candid view of foreign leaders and frank assessments of nuclear and terrorist threats by the U.S. embassies around the world.

"You know, we're treating this seriously, we see it as a crime, " Crowley told reporters at a press briefing. "But the disclosure – – unauthorized disclosure, of information in and of itself is not a terrorist act."

WikiLeaks defended the release of the cables as serving the public by exposing "the contradictions between the U.S. public persona and what it says behind closed doors."

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters on Monday that a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks is underway. (PNA/Xinhua)

ALM/ebp

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