(WASHINGTON) CNN – New York Republican Rep. Peter King is blasting the Pentagon for the release of confidential State Department documents by the controversial whistle-blowing website Wikileaks.
During an interview with CNN Lead Political Anchor Wolf Blitzer in the Situation Room Tuesday, the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee blamed the Defense Department for failing to secure documents that were allegedly leaked at the hands of an army private.
King asserted that the Pentagon should have had more precautions and a "failsafe" procedure to prevent the release of sensitive information, and stated that he was not convinced enough was done.
When asked who was to blame for the leaks, King responded, "the Defense Department holds ultimate responsibility."
King added that the potential cost of Wikileaks' access to State Department is high.
"I have no doubt someone can or will die as a result of these leaks." King said.
He called the leak an "invitation to murder."
When pressed on whether he'd learned of any such casualties, King, revealed that he will receive his first briefing on the breach tomorrow.
King also said that Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, should be prosecuted for espionage and that Wikileaks should be classified as a terrorist group so that "we can freeze their assets."
Calling Assange an enemy combatant, King declared his dissatisfaction at the administration's response, and stated that Attorney General Eric Holder showed "no intensity" in his reaction to the leak.
Since this weekend, Wikileaks has published hundreds of classified U. S. diplomatic messages, the first of what the organization says is a quarter million similar documents.
In addition to being published on Wikileaks website, the documents were acquired in advance by five major newspapers in Europe and the U. S. (The New York Times, The Guardian of the UK, El Pais of Spain, Le Monde of France, and Der Spiegel of Germany.) CNN declined a last minute offer to discuss advance access to some of the documents because of a confidentiality agreement requested by Wikileaks that CNN considered unacceptable.
CNN is committed to carefully and responsibly reporting on the documents already published by Wikileaks and the five newspapers, focusing not only on what the leaked documents say, but also what their publication means for global relations and U. S. diplomacy.