Lieberman: Justice Dept. Should Investigate Whether Times Committed a Crime

By LeAnne Gendreau
|  Wednesday, Dec 8, 2010  |  Updated 8:38 AM EDT
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Lieberman: Justice Dept. Should Investigate Whether Times Committed a Crime

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn. takes his seat on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 5, 2010, before the start of the committee's hearing. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

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When the New York Times published documents the controversial site WikiLeaks provided, the newspaper just might have committed a crime, Sen. Joe Lieberman said.

Lieberman, who leads the Senate Homeland Security Committee, appeared on Fox News on Tuesday to talk about the WikiLeaks arrest.  When asked if news organizations that published the documents should be culpable, Lieberman  said this is sensitive and goes into the freedom of the press, but these are serious legal questions that should be answered.

"To me, New York Times has committed at least an act of bad citizenship, and whether they've committed a crime, I think that bears very intensive inquiry by the Justice Department," Lieberman told Fox News.

As far as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Lieberman said it appears he committed an act of espionage and should be charged.

“It sure looks to me on the facts that Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks have violated the espionage act with great negative consequences for us. He ought to be indicted,” Lieberman said. He also called for Assange to be extradited to the United States.

This does not to be the first act of espionage, Lieberman said.

In July, when WikiLeaks released classified documents regarding the war in Iraq and Afghanistan “to me, that was a violation of espionage as well,” Lieberman said.

“I think it’s the most serious violation of the Espionage Act in our history, and the consequences globally that have occurred,” Lieberman said.

“The recent dissemination by Wikileaks of thousands of State Department cables and other documents is just the latest example of how our national security interests, the interests of our allies, and the safety of government employees and countless other individuals are jeopardized by the illegal release of classified and sensitive information,” Lieberman said on Dec. 2.
 

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