On Monday, Attorney General Holder proudly announced the U.S. government had shut down websites that sold pirated luxury goods or shared videos and songs. But shutting down a website that offers pirated secret government documents and damages United States' security? Not a chance.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange isn’t some well-meaning, anti-war protestor leaking documents in hopes of ending an unpopular war. He’s waging cyberwar on the United States and the global world order.
Mr. Assange and his fellow hackers are terrorists and should be prosecuted as such.
We’ve now seen another dump of thousands of classified documents on WikiLeaks– from the military, the Pentagon and now the State Department – and yet we still haven’t shut it down. We should have done it months ago. Instead our response has been limp. "Phew," we say, "it could have been worse. The leaks aren’t telling us anything new."
But it’s not the contents of the leaked documents that matter, it’s the fact that the U.S. government can no longer keep its secrets. How eager will foreign leaders be now to offer candid assessments of their own countries or comment on their neighbors? How willing will foreign intelligence agencies be to share covert information? For example, Saudi Arabia, one of the countries most compromised by WikiLeaks, is our major source of intelligence on Al Qaeda in Yemen and it’s terror plots. What if they decide they can’t risk their sources and methods will show up on the front page of the New York Times and other publications around the world and they stop sharing what they know?
The answer is obvious. -- The United States should move immediately and aggressively against WikiLeaks. And President Obama should take the following four steps:
1. Declare WikiLeaks a terrorist organization. Move to freeze its assets and have the Pentagon's new Cyber Command shut it down.
2. Shut the site down. The U.S. should urge fellow NATO ally Iceland (which hosts the WikiLeaks website) to shut it down, and suggest that if they do not do so immediately our relations will suffer. Ditto for any other country that steps up to host the website.
3. Get Assange's passport pulled. The president needs to get on the phone with the Australians (who are eagerly awaiting our call) and ask them to pull WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s passport. Once he’s cornered and can no longer travel, they can find him and charge him with espionage. Then the president can ask the country he’s hiding in to extradite him to the United States and try him in a military tribunal.
4. Up the charges against Manning. We’ve had accused WikiLeaks leaker Army Specialist Pvt. Bradley Manning in custody since July. He's been charged with transferring classified data and “delivering national defense information to an unauthorized source." It's time to up the charges. Let's charge him and try him for treason. If he's found guilty, he should be executed.
Finally, if all else fails, every American should to go to WikiLeaks.org, hit the refresh button a couple dozen times and crash their site.
If we don’t deal quickly and decisively with what is a cyberattack on America, we can expect WikiLeaks 2.0 and Pvt. Manning copycats to do this kind of thing over and over again and again. In fact, Mr. Assange has already announced plans to ‘bring down major bank’ by leaking information about its accounts and practices.
Kathleen Troia "K.T." McFarland is a Fox News National Security Analyst and host of FoxNews.com's DefCon 3. She is a Distinguished Adviser to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and served in national security posts in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations. She wrote Secretary of Defense Weinberger’s November 1984 "Principles of War Speech" which laid out the Weinberger Doctrine. Be sure to watch "K.T." every Monday at 10 a.m. ET on FoxNews.com's "DefCon3" already one of the Web's most watched national security programs.