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Shelton: Source of leaked U.S. documents should be prosecuted

Posted November 29, 2010

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— Retired Army Gen. Hugh Shelton said Monday that whoever leaked classified U.S. State Department documents should be prosecuted.

More than 250,000 documents were published over the weekend by the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks. Some of the documents included unflattering assessments of world leaders that embarrassed the administration of President Barack Obama.

Shelton, who was at Fort Bragg to sign copies of his memoir, "Without Hesitation," said the documents have no compelling public interest and shouldn't have been publicized.

"We don't need to know everything. Otherwise, we wouldn't have any need for top-secret information," he said. "It's almost a national tragedy because this is the type of information that not only damages our national security or hurts our national security but damages our reputation worldwide."

A North Carolina native who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1997 until his retirement in 2001, Shelton said he has been in the office of political leaders in a violence-prone corner of the globe, so he knows the ins and outs of diplomacy.

"If he appears to be too close to the United States, there's a potential that ... (his government) could overthrow him," Shelton said. "What he says publicly is not always what he tells you behind the scenes, and when you leak that information, who will he trust the next time they're in his office?"

Gen. Hugh Shelton signs books Shelton: Source of leaked U.S. documents should be prosecuted

Shelton acknowledged that his 554-page memoir includes some unflattering behind-the-scenes moments in the White House under former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Still, those revelations don't impact U.S. relationships the way the WikiLeaks documents do, he said.

“When you start leaking classified information, under today’s laws, individuals should be prosecuted to the fullest (extent possible),” he said.

The general also wasn't diplomatic when discussing North Korean President Kim Jung Il, who launched a artillery attack on South Korea last week, killing four people.

"Kim Jung Il is a lunatic who we have to be concerned about what he might do," Shelton said. “I think it goes to show that we need to have a very strong national military that’s ready to respond."

8 Comments

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  • Xscout577 Nov 30, 2010

    I really wonder about some of you folks..
    The release of ANY classified info is VERY BIG Deal. All those involved in the Wikileak issue should be charged with espionage (did I spell it right?). The weasel that actually stole the info while at the Pentagon should be busting boulders into sand for a VERY long time at a little place known as Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

  • Angel67 Nov 30, 2010

    This country is sinking fast. They better beef up the military b/c our leaders are screwing up everything and this person or ppl should be put under the jail and never allowed to see day light. No loyal citizens here anymore I guess. What on earth has happen to this country????

  • mrman2a Nov 30, 2010

    Why is this spy not in prison ?

  • kewlmom Nov 30, 2010

    My initial thought on the headline: Ya think????

  • btneast Nov 30, 2010

    Why is this an issue? Since releasing the identities of current CIA agents by U.S. Vice Presidents and advisers has been deemed non-important, this can't be all that important.

    Hmmm, didn't someone go to prison for this....?

  • Keepin_it_real_in_NC Nov 29, 2010

    The Bush blaming has started on this article.

  • FragmentFour Nov 29, 2010

    Why is this an issue? Since releasing the identities of current CIA agents by U.S. Vice Presidents and advisers has been deemed non-important, this can't be all that important.

  • krisandbruiser Nov 29, 2010

    I agree with the General. The individual suspected of supplying the documents to wiki leaks is a GI, if convicted he should be given the maximum punishment. Treason or spying is a crime punisable by life in prison without parole.