GREENVILLE -- U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said those who turned over more than 90,000 classified war documents to the WikiLeaks website "have blood on their hands" and must be found and prosecuted.
The reports posted on the website, written between 2004 and 2009, "have undermined the war effort" and endangered lives, Graham said.
"I think people are going to get killed," he said. "I think that's inevitable. We need to come down hard and punish this to deter others from doing it in the future."
That also would give people confidence that they can help the U.S. war effort without fear of having their names made public, he said.
"The worst thing in the world is for this to happen and nobody pays a price because you reinforce it in the future," he said.
Approximately 1,270 government organizations and 1,930 private companies do work related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence, and an estimated 854,000 people hold top-secret security clearances, The Washington Post reported last month.
"That's one of the things we need to learn from this episode," Graham said. "Have we diluted security measures?"
Security was tighter during the Cold War, he said.
"What's a need-to-know basis? I can't believe all these people need to know everything," he said.
The people who handed over the documents, if caught, should be dealt with according to their circumstances, Graham said.
"If it's a military person, they should be court-martialed," he said. "If it's civilians within the jurisdiction of the United States, they should be prosecuted."