Sarah Palin has taken to her Facebook page to issue a proclamation raising “Serious Questions about the Obama Administration’s Incompetence in the Wikileaks Fiasco.”
She accused the Obama administration of “incompetence” and a “strange lack of urgency” in not stopping the release of 250,000 leaked diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks, given that it had already published sensitive information about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The former Governor of Alaska and vice-presidential nominee also seemingly encouraged the hunting of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with “the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders.”
Writing on her Facebook page on Monday, Mrs Palin questions the timing of Obama’s recent steps to try to patch intelligence holes that have allowed repeated leaks of classified information:
“The White House has now issued orders to federal departments and agencies asking them to take immediate steps to ensure that no more leaks like this happen again. It’s of course important that we do all we can to prevent similar massive document leaks in the future.”
“But why did the White House not publish these orders after the first leak back in July? What explains this strange lack of urgency on their part?” she added.
Palin also takes a shot at the failure to capture or stop Assange, an ineffectiveness that she appears to characterize as a lack of effort or caring by the Obama administration:
“The latest round of publications of leaked classified U.S. documents through the shady organization called Wikileaks raises serious questions about the Obama administration’s incompetent handling of this whole fiasco,” Sarah Palin wrote.
“First and foremost, what steps were taken to stop Wikileaks director Julian Assange from distributing this highly sensitive classified material especially after he had already published material not once but twice in the previous months?”
“He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands. His past posting of classified documents revealed the identity of more than 100 Afghan sources to the Taliban. Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders?”
She went on: “What if any diplomatic pressure was brought to bear on NATO, EU, and other allies to disrupt Wikileaks’ technical infrastructure? Did we use all the cyber tools at our disposal to permanently dismantle Wikileaks?”
“Were individuals working for Wikileaks on these document leaks investigated? Shouldn’t they at least have had their financial assets frozen just as we do to individuals who provide material support for terrorist organizations?”
Ms Palin also suggested that ‘cyber tools’ should be used to shut down the whistle-blowing website permanently. It has twice been the subject of targeted attacks by hackers to bring it offline this week.
Mr Assange, a 39 year-old Australian former computer hacker who set up WikiLeaks in 2006, has kept out of public view since the release of the first leaked American diplomatic cables on Sunday. He has denied he has blood on his hands.
It emerged today that the U.S. has opened a criminal investigation into whether the 39-year-old could be charged under its Espionage Act for releasing secret diplomatic documents.
Mr Assange was last night warned that he could face criminal charges if he ever returns to Australia. Australian attorney general Robert McClelland said police are investigating whether the latest leak of secret U.S. documents had broken any Australian laws.
There have also been claims that the U.S. is putting pressure on Australia to cancel Mr Assange’s Australian passport., but this was flatly denied by Mr McClelland.
Moreover Julian Assange, who is believed to be in London, is already facing a criminal investigation in Sweden where two women have accused him of rape.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said today the American government is in the midst of an ‘active, ongoing criminal investigation’ into WikiLeaks.
Mrs Palin, who is tipped to run for President in 2012, also said that “serious questions” had to be asked about how the ‘highly sensitive’ memos from diplomats could have been uploaded onto a computer memory stick and given to WikiLeaks from a supposedly secure U.S. defence department network.
The prime suspect is Bradley Manning, a young private in the US Army who is now being held ahead of a court-martial. Mrs Palin asked why the White House had not issued orders to tighten security back in July, when WikiLeaks released thousands of classified military documents on Afghanistan.
“What explains this strange lack of urgency on their part?” Mrs Palin concluded: “We are at war. American soldiers are in Afghanistan fighting to protect our freedoms. They are serious about keeping America safe. It would be great if they could count on their government being equally serious about that vital task.”
The Obama administration has said that it “deeply regrets” the leaking of the embarrassing cables that have disclosed exactly what American diplomats think of foreign leaders and promised to take “aggressive steps” against those who “stole” them. [via The Telegraph (UK), Daily Mail (UK) and Huffington Post]