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12/10/2010
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Senators Back Amazon In WikiLeaks Fight

Lieberman and Collins say businesses need to look beyond sales considerations in deciding whether to deal with Julian Assange's rogue Web site.

Amazon and other companies that have terminated services to WikiLeaks are drawing praise from influential U.S. lawmakers.

"Companies that are cutting off their services to WikiLeaks in the wake of its release of 250,000 stolen and classified State Department cables are doing the right thing as good corporate citizens and deserve the support of the American people," said Senators Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent who is Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs chairman, and Maine Republican Susan Collins, ranking member on Lieberman's committee.

Amazon, PayPal, MasterCard, and EveryDNS are among the service providers that have booted WikiLeaks from their networks in recent days for violating Terms of Service agreements. Many of them have come under Cyber-attack by WikiLeaks sympathizers, though a DDOS strike on Amazon failed to crash the Web merchant's site Thursday.

Lieberman and Collins said businesses need to weigh concerns beyond revenue in deciding whether or not to provide services to WikiLeaks.

"This is no time for business as usual," said the Senators, in a joint statement. "While corporate entities make decisions based on their obligations to their shareholders, sometimes full consideration of those obligations requires them to act as responsible citizens," said the pair of lawmakers.

"We offer our admiration and support to those companies exhibiting courage and patriotism as they face down intimidation from hackers sympathetic to WikiLeaks' philosophy of irresponsible information dumps for the sake of damaging global relationships," they said.

Amazon.com's famed EC2 infrastructure was more than a match for WikiLeaks sympathizers who tried to take down the site. "Okay, here's the real deal—We can not attack Amazon, currently," said Anonymous, a hacker group that supports WikiLeaks, in a Twitter post. "The previous schedule was to do so, but we don't have enough forces," the group said.

Reports said Anonymous and other hackers attempted to crash Amazon's Web site with a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack, but gave up after about an hour. Amazon maintains vast reservoirs of excess server capacity so it can handle traffic spikes during key times like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Meanwhile, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange remained in jail in London fighting an extradition request by Swedish authorities who have charged him with rape and other sex crimes. Assange has denied the charges, which relate to complaints filed by two Swedish women.

U.S. authorities are also said to be mulling espionage and other charges against Assange who, through WikiLeaks, provided several major newspapers with excerpts of classified U.S. diplomatic documents.

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