Politician: Execution OK for Wikileaks source

Republican member of House Intelligence committee says that if guilty, an alleged Wikileaks source, an Army intelligence specialist, should face capital punishment for treason.

Declan McCullagh Former Senior Writer
Declan McCullagh is the chief political correspondent for CNET. You can e-mail him or follow him on Twitter as declanm. Declan previously was a reporter for Time and the Washington bureau chief for Wired and wrote the Taking Liberties section and Other People's Money column for CBS News' Web site.
Declan McCullagh
2 min read
Wikileaks and Afghanistan: The War Logs

A Republican congressman who's a member of the House Intelligence Committee lashed out at Wikileaks this week, saying the Web site's alleged source should be executed for treason.

Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan told a local radio station on Monday (MP3 audio) that he believes that Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence specialist who is suspected of being a source for the document-sharing Web site, should be charged with treason.

When the WHMI interviewer suggested that treason in war is a capital crime, Rogers replied: "Yes, and I would have absolutely, I would support it 100 percent. He put soldiers at risk who are out there fighting for their country, and he put people who are cooperating with the United States government clearly at risk."

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Rogers added: "If you have an 18- or 19-year-old over there, you want to get your hands on this private first class yourself. I know I do."

Manning was charged last month with disclosing classified information to people not authorized to receive it and obtaining "more than 150,000 diplomatic cables" from the State Department. He has since been been transferred from Kuwait to a brig in Quantico, Va.--and has not been charged with treason.

Rogers' remarks add to an increasingly incendiary spate of political rhetoric that has appeared since Wikileaks disclosed about 100 megabytes of internal military dispatches from Afghanistan.

An opinion piece in Tuesday's Washington Post by a former Bush speechwriter called Wikileaks a "criminal enterprise" and asked the U.S. government to employ "intelligence and military assets" to take it offline and nab co-founder Julian Assange.

And Karl Rove, another Bush aide turned political commentator, asked on Twitter: "Will President Obama stop WikiLeaks--or sit back and do nothing?"

Newsweek has reported that the Taliban has begun to threaten Afghans whose names appear in the leaked documents; over at our sister site, CBSNews.com, chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan called the publication of the files a "death sentence for those people." (Assange has denied those allegations, saying there's no evidence innocent people or informants have been harmed.)