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US lawyers look at criminal law in WikiLeaks probe

world Updated: Nov 30, 2010 19:00 IST

A senior defense official says lawyers from across US government agencies are studying whether it might be possible to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange under the Espionage Act.

The official says lawyers from the departments of Justice, State and Defense are among those looking into how to handle the leaking of a massive number of national security and diplomatic documents to the WikiLeaks website and the site's action in then posting them on the Internet.

The defense official spoke on condition of anonymity Tuesday to be able to discuss internal deliberations. He said lawyers are trying to determine whether the Espionage Act applies in this case, what individuals it might apply to and whether it's possible to use it against the WikiLeaks organization.