WikiLeaks’ Julianne Assange’s days of holing up in an Ecuadorian embassy to avoid extradition have come to an end.
In just a few hours, he’s been arrested and found guilty of a variety of charges. The most recent development was a U.K. judge finding him guilty of breaking his bail conditions.
Assange was ordered to appear on May 2 for an extradition hearing. He remains in police custody, according to CNN.
He was arrested Thursday morning by British police at the embassy, which is in London. The U.S. Justice Department has wanted him back on U.S. soil for the past seven years over leaking classified information.
Now they may get their wish.
Following the arrest, the Justice Department announced it was bringing a criminal charge against Assange. In the indictment, dated March 6, 2018, he’s accused of participating in one of the largest compromises of classified information in U.S. history. He faces a five-year prison stint.
In a release, the Justice Department states the arrest was “pursuant to the U.S./UK Extradition Treaty. It is “in connection with a federal charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified U.S. government computer.”
During the 2016 presidential campaign, WikiLeaks dumped a series of unflattering documents related to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Convention.
The Justice Department didn’t’ single out these document dumps in its press release about the charge. However, many have demanded that Assange be held accountable for his role in meddling in the election.
Up until today, the criminal charges that had been filed against Assange had been sealed. Now we see the details that snare the infamous Chelsea Manning’s role in all of this. Manning, a former intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army, helped Assange crack a password stored on U.S. Department of Defense computers.
In March, Manning refused to testify before a grand jury about classified information she provided to WikiLeaks. She was put in jail where she remains.
Manning had access to the computers as an intelligence analyst and used them to download classified records to transmit to WikiLeaks, according to the Justice Department.
Cracking the password would have allowed Manning to log on to the computers under a username that did not belong to her. Such a deceptive measure would have made it more difficult for investigators to determine the source of the illegal disclosures.
The pair arrogantly “engaged in real-time discussions regarding Manning’s transmission of classified records to Assange.” During one exchange, Manning told Assange that “after this upload, that’s all I really have got left.”
To which Assange replied, “Curious eyes never run dry in my experience,” notes the Justice Department.
The arrest immediately sent Assange’s lawyer Jen Robinson to Twitter to offer up a defense.
WikiLeaks posted the video of his arrest and echoed Robinson in saying it was a retaliation move. He’s seen screaming something at reporters, looking nothing like we’d grown accustomed to seeing.
In a very odd statement, WikiLeaks blames Trump, although exposing Hillary Clinton benefitted Trump more, it seems.
Assange wore out his welcome with Ecuadorian officials to the point they moved to revoke his asylum. President Lenin Moreno explained the decision on Twitter.
Also on the run from being extradited to the U.S., Eric Snowden felt the need to wade into this issue. He’s been holed up in Russia, fearing the U.S.’s wrath over his copying and leaking classified information from the National Security Agency in 2013.
Snowden chose to give a warning to journalists:
Last modified: September 23, 2020 12:37 PM