Some U.S. lawmakers say the WikiLeaks case has threatened diplomacy, hurt international relations, and put some lives at risk. The case involves Julian Assange, a Swedish man who was arrested for releasing “embarrassing” secret documents on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. In South Carolina, state Representative Chip Limehouse has a proposal that would target these kinds of actions made by “hackers” in the state.
We’re going to hopefully put the hackers in jail. This WikiLeaks guy, the Swedish guy over there, that has exposed all of our military secrets, he has really put our country at jeopardy, our safety. He could start a world war doing, releasing the type of information that he has stolen. That’s what it is, it’s stealing, when you steal someone’s private information you’re a thief and you’re taking it from them. And, my new legislation really gives the state teeth to go after these computer hackers who would steal military secrets.
Limehouse says he just wants to strengthen the current law in the books called the “Safe School Climate Act.” This bill makes harassment, intimidation, or bullying by electronic communication, written, verbal, or physical threats or actions against the law. But, Limehouse says under his proposal, computer hackers and unauthorized informants could spend up to 10 years in jail.
Limehouse says South Carolina is a prime location for military bases, and he wants to take extra precautions to protect these military installations from a WikiLeaks-type scandal.
We’ve got numerous military installations here, all that are chalked full of secrets of troop strength, troop disposition, number of aircraft, types of aircraft. All these are classified secrets and nobody should know this information, and yet this WikiLeaks guy, that’s the exact sort of stuff that he is stealing and putting out there on the Internet for our enemies to view.
Limehouse wants to make it a felony for anyone in South Carolina to commit computer hacking.
Put some teeth behind it, a 10-year sentence or a stiff fine. The point being behind all this is that times are changing, and we have to tailor our laws to the times and we have plenty of laws in the books against horse stealing, but when it comes to computer crimes, there’s not a lot out there. So, my new legislation is to enhance and build on what we have and address the situation that could be a danger to our troops.
The WikiLeaks case, according to published accounts, involves about 250,000 online publications of U.S. military intelligence reports, among others.