Let’s hope we all look good in orange, because according to an extreme interpretation of the law, courtesy of some Air Force uptightnik, Americans who accessed WikiLeaks may end up breaking rocks in the hot sun for having violated the Espionage Act, according to the Federation of American Scientists’ Secrecy News:

Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base issued startling new guidance stating that the leaked documents are protected by the Espionage Act and that accessing them under any circumstances is against the law, not simply a violation of government computer security policy.

It’s already a double bozo no-no many for government employees to download classified materials from the WikiLeaks web site onto unclassified computer systems, though the government has conceded that the WikiLeaks stuff is now public domain. However the AFMC legal office said:

Air Force members — military or civilian — may not legally access WikiLeaks at home on their personal, non-governmental computers, either. To do so would not only violate the SECAF [Secretary of the Air Force] guidance on this issue,… it would also subject the violator to prosecution for violation of espionage under the Espionage Act.

So no peeking at WikiLeaks from the library or the local copy shop!

And the Air Force added that family members can’t access the material either

If a family member of an Air Force employee accesses WikiLeaks on a home computer, the family member may be subject to prosecution for espionage under U.S. Code Title 18 Section 793.

Secrecy New points out

[I]ronically enough, the real significance of the new AFMC guidance could lie in its potential use as evidence for the defense in one of the pending leak prosecutions under the Espionage Act.  Defendants might argue that if the Espionage Act can be seriously construed by Air Force legal professionals to render a sizable fraction of the American public culpable of espionage, then the Act truly is impermissibly broad, vague and unconstitutional. (emphasis mine)

Exactly. There are probably many, many people in USA who have relatives in the Air Force  they’ve never met or even know they are related to.

Like, what–the Air Force is gonna trace all the ISPs that have gone onto WikiLeaks, get the names of the users and compare their DNA (both matriarchal and patriarchal) to every current Air Force member, civilian and military?  Doesn’t our military have better things to do?

[HT: FAS.org]

Lisa Derrick

Lisa Derrick

Los Angeles native, attended UC Berkeley and Loyola Marymount University before punk rock and logophilia overtook her life. Worked as nightclub columnist, pop culture journalist and was a Hollywood housewife before writing for and editing Sacred History Magazine. Then she discovered the thrill of politics. She also appears frequently on the Dave Fanning Show, one of Ireland's most popular radio broadcasts.

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