Technology × Freedom

2018 Intelligence Authorization Act Labels WikiLeaks a "Hostile Intelligence Service"

August 30, 2017 invisiblehand

The 2018 Intelligence Authorization Act has been passed by Congress and is awaiting the Senate and President Trump's approval. In it appears section 623, which states:

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.

This section, however, wasn't there when Congress passed it. Per BullTruth:

The section of concern, section .623, does not make it’s appearance in the document until after it passed through congress. There is no mention of section .623 in The Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence report (H. Rep. 115–251) which took place on July 24, 2017, nor is it found in any of the four versions leading up to and including July 31, 2017 when it was introduced to the Senate.

Sen. Burr introduced H.R. 3180 to the Senate Calendar where it became known as S. 1761 on August 18, 2017 (less than three full days after [California Congressman] Rohrabacher met with Assange), and voilasection .623 had mysteriously been added to the text.

Strange, isn't it? Interestingly, the section still doesn't appear on the version of the bill posted on the congressional intelligence committee's website.

In any event, the passage of the bill could have dramatic repercussions on free speech, according to former Congressman Ron Paul:

This language is designed to delegitimize WikiLeaks, encourage the federal government to spy on individuals working with WikiLeaks, and block access to WikiLeaks’ website. This provision could even justify sending US forces abroad to arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange or other WikiLeaks personnel.

If the government is successful in shutting down WikiLeaks by labeling it a “hostile intelligence service,” it will use this tactic to silence other organizations and websites as well. The goal will be to create a climate of fear to ensure no one dares publish the revelations of a future Edward Snowden or Chelsea Manning.

He goes a step further:

If President Trump supports the war on WikiLeaks, after candidate Trump proclaimed his love for WikiLeaks, it will be further proof that he has outsourced his presidency to the deep state.

Dang.

If you think it will make a difference, you can sign a change.org petition to remove section 623 from the bill.