Documents show U.S. spy agency urged allies to charge WikiLeaks

Feb. 18, 2014 at 5:13 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- The National Security Agency urged other spy agencies to file charges against the head of WikiLeaks, say documents released by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The agency also considered naming the anti-spying group a "malicious foreign actor," a designation that would allowed the surveillance of visitors to the site, including U.S. citizens, The Hill reported Tuesday.

The NSA's British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters, has also tracked visitors to the WikiLeaks site, the documents say.

The documents indicate the NSA urged at least three countries in August 2010 to "consider filing criminal charges" against WikiLeaks head Julian Assange for "unauthorized publication" of documents concerning the war in Afghanistan.

Some of the top-secret documents detail a discussion in which NSA officials asked if WikiLeaks and similar websites could be treated "as a 'malicious foreign actor' for the purpose of targeting with no defeats."

Officials with NSA's legal council and compliance office responded, "Let us get back to you."

The documents do not indicate if the question was ever resolved.

President Obama should appoint a special prosecutor to investigate "criminal activity" against the site, Assange said Tuesday.

"No entity, including the NSA, should be permitted to act against journalists with impunity," Assange said in a statement. "We have instructed our General Counsel Judge Baltasar Garzon to prepare the appropriate response."

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