The war of words over WikiLeaks' release of classified military documents is heating up, and some are calling for a full-scale assault on the site.
WikiLeaks defied a series of increasingly stern warnings from the U.S. military and other government officials and released a massive trove of secret documents from the Iraq war last week. Portions of the U.S. military reports, totaling nearly 400,000 classified documents, were leaked to the Internet, including Web sites of some news organizations that had been handed the documents in advance.
The Defense Department had prepared in advance in case the Iraq files were to leak--really, to flood--onto the Internet. A task force has been sorting through the files that were considered most likely to have been leaked and trying to evaluate whether any disclosures would imperil current military operations.
In response, a Republican senator has proposed rewriting the Espionage Act to target WikiLeaks. Sen. John Ensign of Nevada announced a bill that would make it illegal to identify informants working with the U.S. military, which WikiLeaks did earlier this year when releasing files from the war in Afghanistan.
This has all led to a twist that would have been inconceivable even a few months ago: the WikiLeaks.org Web site is being proposed as the first public target for a U.S. government cyberattack. One Washington newspaper argued that WikiLeaks' offshore Web site should be attacked and rendered "inoperable" by the U.S. government. A State Department adviser under President George W. Bush wrote a column calling on the U.S. military to "electronically assault WikiLeaks and any telecommunications company offering its services to this organization."
Their target's actually not that far away. WikiLeaks' Web site is now hosted on Amazon.com servers on United States soil near San Jose, Calif.
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