"If the NSA was responsible, that seems criminally negligent to me on a monumental scale for which people need to be held criminally liable for their recklessness and callous indifference to human life," former US Army Judge Advocate General official Maj. Todd Pierce said on Monday.
The WannaCry cyberattack has crippled computers around the world and continues to spread, defying the efforts of companies, governments and security experts to contain it. More than 300,000 computers in 150 countries have been affected, according to published reports.
Possible criminal prosecutions should extend to any NSA or other intelligence officials who knew about the potential threat the virus presented before it was stolen by hackers and unleashed across the world last Friday, Pierce noted.
Potential subjects for prosecution should include "anyone aiding and abetting the crime by trying to cover it up," he stated.
The virus exploits a vulnerability in the Windows operating system that the NSA had discovered. The vulnerability was then accessed and stolen by hackers and published online.
University of Illinois International Law Professor Francis Boyle said the NSA’s clandestine possession of the virus reflected the vast scope of its own secret and illicit hacking operations around the world.
"The Biggest Hacker in the World today is the NSA, which is one of the most lawless branches of the United States government, operating in gross violation of the US Constitution and International Law," he said.
NSA secret operations had also targeted sovereign governments, Boyle pointed out.
The Fourth Amendment expressly requires a warrant based upon probable cause, Boyle also remarked.
Boyle dismissed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) set up by President Jimmy Carter and most recently revised by President Barack Obama as a hollow excuse to allow the US Deep State to continue carrying out unlimited secret surveillance activities.
"The so-called FISA Court that is supposed to supervise the NSA is nothing more than a kangaroo court with a rubber stamp that has eviscerated the Fourth Amendment and International Law," he said.
Regular US federal judges destroyed their own reputations when they agreed to serve on such courts, Boyle maintained.
It is an absolute disgrace that any reputable Article III US federal judge would serve on the FISA Court and the FISA Appeals Court, Boyle added.