Spy hunter: WikiLeaks should be handled as espionage case

by J Michael Waller, BigPeace/Breitbart.com – One of the nation’s highest-ranking former spy hunters says that the individuals responsible for the theft and publication of tens of thousands of secret military documents should be prosecuted under federal espionage laws.

The Obama Administration is pursuing the disclosure of more than 90,000 secret documents to WikiLeaks.org as merely the mishandling of classified information – a far less serious offense than espionage.

Administration supporters say that the leak was not espionage. But one of the country’s most successful counterintelligence officials argues the contrary – and says that legal precedent proves it.

“We have an excellent precedent in the case of Samuel Loring Morison,” the naval intelligence analyst who compromised top secret U.S. imagery intelligence capabilities, says Kenneth E. deGraffenreid, who as Deputy National Counterintelligence Executivefrom 2004-2006 was the nation’s second-ranking counterintelligence official. Morison served a two-year sentence on conviction of espionage for having compromised U.S. secrets – not to a foreign intelligence service, but to a British publishing company.

“The Morison case was an espionage case. Morison was charged with espionage because he provided classified information to a foreign power,” deGraffenreid tells BigPeace.com. It doesn’t matter that the foreign power was a private media company housed in one of the most solid and reliable American allies: “Morison stole U.S. secrets and provided them to Jane’s, the British military publisher. It was like taking U.S. defense secrets and laying them out in the street in front of the Russians.”

Morison was convicted in1985 of taking only three classified images and providing them to Jane’s, where he was a contributor to the annual reference work, Jane’s Fighting Ships, about the world’s navies. Manning, and perhaps others, provided at least 90,000, and perhaps more than 100,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks.

Morison said he had a policy motive, to leak the satellite imagery of the construction of a Soviet nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, in order to convince the public to increase defense spending. By contrast, Manning, as an active-duty soldier, is reported to have stolen the classified files and provided them to WikiLeaks in order to undermine the war effort.

“If you’re trying to hurt the United States, that’s part of the crime. That’s why it’s espionage,” deGraffenreid says. “If you put this stuff out on the Internet or in the New York Times or the Guardian, any sentient being knows that the bad guys – the Taliban, the Russians, the Chinese or al Qaeda – can read the secrets. It doesn’t matter if he says he didn’t mean for them to get the information because he was just trying to influence U.S. policy.”

DeGraffenreid was White House Senior Director of Intelligence Programs and Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan on the National Security Council from 1981 to 1987, and an architect of the successful decapitation of the Soviet KGB stations in the U.S. after Click here for the full text of this article on BigPeace/Breitbart.com.