The House Judiciary Committee is planning a Dec. 16 hearing on the legal issues surrounding WikiLeaks, making it the first congressional committee to do so since the organization began releasing U.S. diplomatic cables last month.
The committee gave notice of the hearing today. The topic is described as “the Espionage Act and the Legal and Constitutional Issues Raised by WikiLeaks.” A spokeswoman said a witness list was not yet available.
Many members of Congress have weighed in on the subject publicly through written statements and interviews in the media. But the hearing, planned for the Judiciary Committee’s usual hearing room, could be an especially high-profile platform for the debate. It is planned to take place just as Congress is scheduled to wrap up work for the year.
The hearing may be the last one presided over by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the committee’s chairman, for at least two years. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is set to become chairman in January. On Thursday, Conyers presided over a hearing about civil liberties and counterterrorism.
Smith has planned to hold hearings on WikiLeaks after he takes the committee gavel, The Associated Press reported Dec. 4.