WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- WikiLeaks should be declared a terrorist organization after the Web site published sensitive, classified diplomatic cables, Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., said Monday.
"The benefit of that is we would be able to seize their assets and we'd be able to stop anyone from helping them in any way, whether it's making contributions, giving free legal advice or whatever," King said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "It would also, I believe, strengthen the secretary of state's hand in dealing with foreign nations as far as trying to get them extradited, trying to get them to take action against them."
WikiLeaks released more than 250,000 cables that include embarrassing comments about foreign leaders and U.S. operations abroad. Both the White House and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reached out to foreign leaders after the documents were published.
During a news conference Monday, Clinton said diplomats worldwide rely on frank assessments from envoys in the field in the decision-making process. Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department had an active criminal investigation into WikiLeaks.
"I think if we're going to live in this technological world where information can be disseminated so quickly, we have to be serious and take firm, strong action against those who are putting American lives at risk," King said.
King, the chairman-apparent of the House Homeland Security Committee when the new session of Congress convenes in January, said he would conduct hearings into WikiLeaks and how security protocols were breached.
"We have to walk and chew gum at the same time," King said. "We have to stop it from happening in the future. We have to go after those who are doing it now as a deterrent, so it doesn't happen again. And both have to be done. ... We have to do both simultaneously."