Air Force backs off from claim that accessing WikiLeaks violates Espionage Act claim

Tuesday - 2/8/2011, 3:09pm EST

Maybe you can't be charged with espionage just for visiting the Wikileaks website.

Federal News Radio told you about a claim by the Air Force legal team that some analysts called extreme. It said members of the service - and everyone in their families - could be charged under the Espionage Act for downloading anything from Wikileaks or even just visiting the website.

Now its appears the Air Force is backing off that claim.

A statement from Air Force Lt. Colonel Richard Johnson says the news story published by Air Force Materiel Command was not previously coordinated with Air Force Headquarters and has been removed from the Command website.

The statement in Secrecy News says the Air Force guidance did not address family members who are not Air Force members or employees. Furthermore - it says the Air Force defers to the Department of Justice in all non-military matters related to WikiLeaks.

Another statement, in Politico - says the guidance is being taken down pending a further review of the legal opinions it was based on.

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