The Pentagon said Friday that Julian Assange and Wikileaks are not legally designated as enemies of the United States.
The comments came after U.S. Air Force documents revealed that members of the U.S. military who contact Wikileaks or Wikileaks supporters would be considered to be “communicating with the enemy.” Those documents were reported by The Sydney Morning Herald on Thursday and were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Pentagon spokesman George Little told ABC News that the “Department of Defense does not regard Mr. Assange as a member of the ‘enemy,’ a military objective, or someone who should be dealt with by the U.S. military.”
The Pentagon, however, has warned Assange and Wikileaks “against soliciting service members to break the law by providing classified information to them, and that it is our view that continued possession by Wikileaks of classified information belonging to the United States government represents a continuing violation of law,” he said.
“We regard this as a law enforcement matter,” he said.
Under the Uniform Military Code of Justice, service members caught in unauthorized communication with the enemy could suffer a penalty as severe as death.