Sarah Palin vs. Julian Assange

Sarah Palin vs. Julian Assange

The former vice presidential nominee may not be able to see Russia from her house. But she sees the WikiLeaks founder as enough of a threat to argue for hunting him down as a terrorist.


Time magazine readers, voting in a poll on potential "Person of the Year" candidates, have placed WikiLeaks founder and frontman Julian Assange in the top tier—along with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. 

Sarah Palin, the queen of all media, is far behind in tenth place.

What to do?

Palin wants Assange hunted down as a terrorist.

In a rant on her Facebook page, the former governor of Alaska says the Obama administration is not doing enough to take down WikiLeaks and Assange.

"Assange is not a ‘journalist,’ any more than the “editor” of al Qaeda’s new English-language magazine Inspire is a ‘journalist.’ 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?" Palin demands to know. "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?"

As it happens, Sarah Palin does not get to define who is or is not a "journalist," or what is or is not "journalism." Nor does she get to decide who should be pursued "with the same urgency we pursue Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders."

But it is worth noting that, while reasonable people can and do criticize Assange, most of them do not place him in the same category as the leaders of international terrorist groups. Palin and New York Congressman Peter King, who wants to label WikiLeaks as a terrorist organization, are the outliers. For now. Even Senator Joe Lieberman, the Connecticut independent who often sides with Republican King on national security issues, says of the "terrorist" label: "Normally, we reserve that designation for groups that fit the traditional definition of terrorism, which is that they are using violence to achieve a political end. While it’s true that what WikiLeaks did may result in damage to some people…it’s not Al Qaeda."

Lieberman is the voice of reason on this one. But can he hold Palin back if she starts to worry that Assange is stealing some of her "star" time?

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