King Calls on Treasury Secretary Geithner to Act to Disrupt WikiLeaks
Wants WikiLeaks added to Specially Designated National and Blocked Persons List
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, called on Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to add WikiLeaks and its founder Jullian Assange to the Specially Designated National and Blocked Persons List (SDN List). This action by Geithner would prohibit people and companies within U.S. jurisdiction from conducting business with WikiLeaks and Assange. In a letter to Geithner, King wrote that “the U.S. government simply cannot continue its ineffective piecemeal approach of responding in the aftermath of Wikileaks’ damage. The Administration must act to disrupt the Wikileaks enterprise. The U.S. government should be making every effort to strangle the viability of Assange’s organization.”
Below is the text of the letter from King to Geithner:
January 12, 2011
Secretary Timothy F. Geithner
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20220
Dear Secretary Geithner:
I write to urge you to add Julian Assange and his Wikileaks enterprise to the Specially Designated National and Blocked Persons List (the SDN List) maintained by the
U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), and thus prohibit any company or person subject to U.S. jurisdiction from conducting any business with Assange and Wikileaks.
As you know, several prominent officials from the Obama Administration, including Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Department of State Secretary Hilary Clinton, have warned of the threat that Wikileaks and Assange pose to U.S. national security interests. On January 7th, the New York Times reported that Wikileaks’ unauthorized disclosures have forced the State Department to warn “hundreds of human rights activists, foreign government officials and business people identified in leaked diplomatic cables of potential threats to their safety and has moved a handful of them to safer locations.” It is undeniable that Wikileaks poses a clear and present threat to U.S. national interests.
The U.S. government simply cannot continue its ineffective piecemeal approach of responding in the aftermath of Wikileaks’ damage. The Administration must act to disrupt the Wikileaks enterprise. The U.S. government should be making every effort to strangle the viability of Assange’s organization.
According to the Department of Treasury, OFAC “administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals against ... threats to the national security, foreign policy or economy of the United States.” There have been repeated instances of U.S. companies entering into transactions with Assange, regardless of the consequences. Earlier this year, Amazon, PayPal, and Visa were conducting business with Wikileaks. Fortunately, those companies have withdrawn from their relationships with Assange. However, in late December, U.S. publishing company Alfred A. Knopf announced that it had entered into a publishing deal that would pay Assange approximately $1 million. Mr. Assange commented that he needed those funds to “keep Wikileaks afloat.” Assange seems more emboldened than ever in Wikileaks’ continued viability, as he announced yesterday that Wikileaks is “stepping up our publishing for matters related to [classified U.S. diplomatic cables] and other materials.”
The U.S. government should be doing all it can to sink Wikileaks. By adding Assange and Wikileaks to the SDN List, the United States can finally take action to dismantle his organization.
Thank you for your time and consideration of my request. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
PETER T. KING
Committee on Homeland Security