March 18, 2016

Feingold Admits He Read A Classified TPP Draft On WikiLeaks

In an attempt to score political points over his rival, former senator Russ Feingold let it slip that he read a classified version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement posted by radical hacker Julian Assange on WikiLeaks.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that Feingold said he had read “a version of the agreement online” on March 25th:

Feingold opposes the deal while Johnson, a proponent of past trade deals, has remained undecided. The U.S. Senate has not yet scheduled a vote on the pact. Johnson has said he needs time to talk to people who are affected by the issue. ‘Why does he need all this time,’ said Feingold, who added that he read a version of the agreement online March 25 and that it became formally available in November.

March 25th was the day a classified draft of the ‘Investment Chapter’ of the TPP was posted on WikiLeaks:

WikiLeaks releases today the ‘Investment Chapter’ from the secret negotiations of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement. The document adds to the previous WikiLeaks publications of the chapters for Intellectual Property Rights (November 2013) and the Environment (January 2014). The TPP Investment Chapter, published today, is dated 20 January 2015. The document is classified and supposed to be kept secret for four years after the entry into force of the TPP agreement or, if no agreement is reached, for four years from the close of the negotiations.

Feingold’s admission came just days before President Obama and Vice President Biden endorsed him. The Obama administration has prohibited federal employees and contractors from reading classified documents on WikiLeaks, according to The New York Times:

… the Obama administration and the Department of Defense have ordered the hundreds of thousands of federal employees and contractors not to view the secret cables and other classified documents published by Wikileaks and news organizations around the world unless the workers have the required security clearance or authorization.

No word from the White House about whether they’ll stand by Feingold despite his violation of an order that would cost federal employees their security clearance. It would appear President Obama is unconcerned about a potential U.S. Senator openly flouting national security protocols.

Then again, this is hardly surprising behavior from Feingold, who called his lone vote against the PATRIOT Act “one of the best things I have ever done”: