Potential 2012 GOP candidates speak out on what should be done to those responsible for Wikileaks

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Though President Obama has yet to weigh in personally on what should be done to those responsible for the Wikileaks releases, some of his potential 2012 Republican opponents have spoken out on the issue.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has gone on the record saying that whoever leaked the documents to Wikileaks committed treason and ought to be executed.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich echoed Huckabee in an interview with The Daily Caller, saying that the leaker, allegedly Pfc. Bradley Manning, committed treason and should be punished harshly.

“The person who leaked the documents committed treason,” he said in an e-mail. “He took actions to undermine the United States in the middle of a global war.”

Gingrich went on to say that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange should be treated like an enemy combatant.

“The foreigner is an enemy combatant who is actively taking steps which will get Americans and American allies killed and should be treated as an enemy combatant,” Gingrich wrote, echoing a similar statement he made on Fox News Tuesday where he said that Assange “should be in jail for the rest of his life.”

Rick Santorum, former Pennsylvania senator and another potential 2012 GOP presidential candidate, took it a step further, calling Assange a “terrorist” on Tuesday during a speech to a rotary club in New Hampshire.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has taken a different tack by blaming President Obama for the diplomatic “fiasco” in a note posted on Facebook.

“What steps were taken to stop Wikileaks director Julian Assange from distributing this highly sensitive classified material…?” she asked. “Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders?”

Herman Cain, potential 2012 GOP presidential candidate and the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, blamed all parties involved, saying, “it never should have happened.”

“The whole leak…compromises the national security of the United States of America, so I think that that is a punishable offense,” he told TheDC in a phone interview. “You don’t compromise the national security of this country in the name of nothing — journalism, freedom of speech, blah blah blah. None of that slides with me.”

Fred Karger, a Republican political operative and gay rights activist who has put up the first presidential campaign ads in Iowa, called for the person who leaked the material to go before a military tribunal, saying that the leak should receive whatever punishment the tribunal decided appropriate.

As for Assange, Karger drew a more nuanced case. “This also is a freedom of speech issue,” he told TheDC in an e-mail, “is Assange just an editor-in-chief that publishes these documents, or did he pay for the secrets, aide and abet or instruct Manning or any of his others sources to take illegal actions to get these documents? If so, he should also be prosecuted by a military tribunal.”