The Corner

Bolton on WikiLeaks: ‘Treason, Punishable by Death’

Former ambassador John Bolton tells National Review Online that he would charge Pfc. Bradley Manning with treason for sharing U.S. intelligence with Wikileaks. “I believe treason is still punishable by death and if he were found guilty, I would do it,” Bolton says.

The former U.S. representative to the U.N., Bolton calls the leaks “very damaging.” “[They] will undercut embassies in the field giving honest assessments for the people back in Washington,” he warns. Bolton voices some sympathy for Rep. Pete King’s suggestion that the U.S. label Wikileaks a terrorist organization, though he admits, “I’d have to look at the statute. I’m not against that; I’m just not sure they would fit the definition.” Still, Bolton adds, “If our cyber warfare experts need target practice, I would recommend they practice on Wikileaks.”

Discussing the revelations themselves, Bolton is not surprised. On Arab countries’ anxiety over Iran’s nuclear program, he notes, “I’ve known this for a long time. It’s one reason I’ve had confidence in saying that the Middle East wouldn’t dissolve into turmoil if the U.S. or Israel attacked the Iranian nuclear weapons program. That’s what the Gulf States in particular have wanted us to do.” And on the administration’s horse-trading over Guantanamo Bay prisoners — such as its demand that Slovenia accept a prisoner in exchange for a visit by President Obama — Bolton muses, “That sounds like about the way the State Department negotiates.”

And he’s not surprised by what is allegedly coming in the next batch of leaks: revelations about the behavior of congressional delegations overseas.

However much momentary entertainment those leaks will provide, Bolton asserts they will also show the need for a change in the organization of U.S. intelligence.

“This should cause a rethinking of the post-9/11 idea that you mush everything together,” he says. “You have to evaluate it all the time. It’s typical of the U.S. government that for a long time it lives with stove pipes that it shouldn’t live with, and that for a long time after 9/11 it lives with homogenizing everything it shouldn’t be homogenizing.”

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