Air Force: Accessing WikILeaks violates Espionage Act

Monday - 2/7/2011, 1:45pm EST

Any American who just visits the WikiLeaks website may have violated the U.S. Espionage Act, according to Air Force officials.

Secrecy News says Air Force Materiel Command has issued new guidance that says the leaked documents are protected by the Espionage Act. That would mean accessing them under any circumstances is against the law - and not just a violation of government security policy.

The government's position has generally been that although the material is in the public domain - it's still considered classified. So - no federal worker should ever download anything from the website.

The Command's legal office goes way beyond that. They warn that any member of the Air Force - military or civilian - is subject to charges of espionage by visiting the WikiLeaks website - at home or at work. Furthermore - the Command says if a family member of someone in the Air Force accesses WikiLeaks on a home computer, they can also be charged.

This story is part of Federal News Radio's daily Cybersecurity Update brought to you by Tripwire. For more cybersecurity news, click here.