Senate bill calls organization a ‘hostile intelligence service’ working with ‘state actors.’

By Philip Giraldi
September 1, 2017
The American Conservative


Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks via video conference to the Digital Culture Forums, organized by Argentina’s Ministry of Culture, 2015. Credit:CreativeCommons/ Romina Santarelli

The United States, uniquely among nations, believes that its writ runs all over the world—and that it has a right to use its courts of law to seek retributive justice even in situations that did not involve American citizens and occurred in a foreign land. No other country sends its marshalls overseas to forcibly detain fugitives from “justice.” If the United States is truly exceptional, it is no doubt due to its hubris in declaring itself to be the final arbiter of what goes on all around the globe.

It seems that nearly every week Congress outdoes itself in passing bills that are intended to pummel one foreign adversary or another. Russia and Iran have become particular favorites with nary a dissenting voice when new sanctions are put in place, together with mechanisms to ensure that a puissant chief executive shall have no ability to mitigate the punishment. And sometimes stealth is employed, inserting a nugget in an otherwise innocuous bit of legislation that will provide authority to go after yet another potential enemy of the state.

The latest Senate Intelligence Authorization Act (SB 1761), which was released by the committee on August 18 when few senators were in town, is in the nature of a routine document. It notably calls for “more” in terms of both probing and revealing Russian spying and alleged aggression, but that was to be expected due to the current panic over Moscow and its intentions. It will nevertheless almost certainly become law even though few members of congress will actually bother to read any part of it. The bill has already been approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee and will likely go immediately to a vote in the full Senate when that body reconvenes after the August recess. It will almost certainly be approved unanimously.

That anyone in the alternative media is paying any attention at all to what the bill says is due to the last section in the document, numbered 623. It reads “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.”

Senator Ron Wyden was the only committee member who opposed the draft but even he opined that “the damage done by WikiLeaks to the United States is clear.” His concerns were that Section 623, if acted upon, could damage freedom of the press. He explained that “…the use of the novel phrase ‘non-state hostile intelligence service’ may have legal, constitutional, and policy implications, particularly should it be applied to journalists inquiring about secrets… The language in the bill suggesting that the U.S. government has some unstated course of action against ‘non-state hostile intelligence services’ is equally troubling.”

Read more