Air Force personnel who read the WikiLeaks cables on their work or home computers may be subject to prosecution under the Espionage Act, according to a memo released by the Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC).
“DO NOT access the WikiLeaks information on government or personal computers; DO treat the leaked materials like any other content assumed to be classified,” reads the Feb. 3 memo issued to personnel.
The Air Force Material Command, based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, maintains, tests and upgrades the Air Force's weapons systems.
WikiLeaks began publishing the 250,000 classified U.S. Embassy cables on Nov. 28 of last year. The Air Force has since blocked the WikiLeaks website from its computer systems. Also blocked are news websites, including those of The New York Times and The Guardian, that have published stories based on the leaks, Wired reports.
The AFMC memo takes its anti-WikiLeaks stance a step further, declaring that Air Force members – and their family members – who view the WikiLeaks cables may be prosecuted for espionage.
On Feb. 7, Air Force headquarters issued a statement saying that the guidelines lain out in the AFMC Feb. 3 memo were under review.
The battle between WikiLeaks and civil liberties wages on in Iceland as well, where Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of Iceland’s parliament and a WikiLeaks supporter, is fighting a U.S. Department of Justice request to obtain records pertaining to her Twitter account going back to 2009.
The hearing, scheduled for Feb. 15 in Alexandria, Va., will seek to overturn the Dec. 14 court order requiring Twitter to release Jonsdottir’s private account records, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, is representing her.
Also included in the motion are Dutch hacker Rop Gonggrijp and U.S. computer security researcher Jacob Appelbaum -- both avowed supporters of WikiLeaks -- along with its founder, Australian-born Julian Assange.
Assange, meanwhile, is dealing with a separate legal battle of his own. He is currently fighting extradition to Sweden over an investigation alleging that he raped one woman and molested another during a visit to Stockholm last August.