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Congress Alert

New Senate Intelligence Authorization Bill Includes Language Threatening WikiLeaks


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The Senate Intelligence Authorization Act (SB 1761), introduced Friday by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and already approved by the committee, concludes with a one sentence section — Section 623 — that appears to threaten WikiLeaks with potential harsh actions. The section categorizes the news organization, which helps expose information obtained from whistleblowers, as resembling "a non-state hostile intelligence service."

"Senior leaders" of WikiLeaks, such as Julian Assange who will not leave the Ecuador Embassy in London for fear of being arrested and sent to the United States for detention or prosecution, are also included in the categorization.

Section 623 of the bill reads in full:
SEC. 623. Sense of Congress on WikiLeaks.

It is the sense of Congress that WikiLeaks and the senior leadership of WikiLeaks resemble a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors and should be treated as such a service by the United States.
Writing Tuesday at the Daily Beast, Spencer Ackerman noted the section’s language "echoes almost exactly CIA director Mike Pompeo’s scathing April speech calling WikiLeaks a 'non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia,' a departure from the 'I love WikiLeaks' rhetoric from then-candidate Trump."

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