Rep.-elect Allen West (R-Fla.) may have proven himself a prime pupil for fellow Rep. Michele Bachmann's forthcoming constitutional classes, when he recently displayed selective reverence for the Tea Party's most sacred document by calling for American news outlets to be censored for running stories based on the recent WikiLeaks cable dump.
Here's the transcript of what the soon-to-be congressman said on a conservative internet radio program last week, via ThinkProgress:
WEST: There are different means by which you can be attacked. I mean it doesnt have to be a bomb or an airplane flying into a building. It doesn't have to be a shooting. It can be through cyber attacks, it could be through leaking of very sensitive classified information. Regardless of whether you think it causes any harm, the fact that here is an individual that is not an American citizen first and foremost, for whatever reason gotten his hands on classified American material and put it out there in the public domain. And I think that we also should be censoring the American news agencies which enabled him to do this and also supported him and applauding him for the efforts. So that's kind of aiding and abetting of a serious crime.
Beyond the clear fact that he is arguing against one of the most exalted constitutional guarantees of a free press, West is also joining a number of legislators who have met worries over the actions of Julian Assange's WikiLeaks by branding the Australian citizen as an enemy of the state.
While some have argued that he is guilty of treason — a nonsensical argument considering his lack of American citizenship — or terrorism, and maybe even punishable by the death penalty, West charted a somewhat different course, joining Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who last week said that the media accomplices, such as The New York Times, who were enabling people to view the information should be held accountable for their part in the affair as well. Of course, West took this argument further by calling for censorship, while Lieberman simply urged an investigation.
Though Wikileaks and Julian Assange have been roundly criticized by politicians on both sides of the spectrum, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) gave perhaps the most impassioned defense of the website and its actions in an address on the House floor last week, in which he called the "hysterical reaction" to the leaks an "example of killing the messenger for the bad news."
LISTEN (via ThinkProgress):
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more