(RightWing.org) – Julian Assange, the founder of the controversial website Wikileaks, is currently in a British jail for violating bail conditions – and he’s also facing a range of charges in the US when he gets released. Now another indictment has been served on him, this time for conspiracy to steal classified information. Supporters say Assange is being persecuted by the US government; prosecutors say he’s a serious threat to national security.
Julian Assange, the 48-year-old South African national behind security-busting website Wikileaks, says he’s a journalist. The US Department of Justice says he’s a cybercriminal who conspired with hackers and renegades to deliberately steal classified data.
- Assange was first arrested in December 2010, when he turned himself in to UK police. He was released on bail while Sweden tried to extradite him over alleged rape charges, but in June 2012, he broke bail and tried to claim asylum in London’s Ecuadorean embassy. In 2019, the embassy staff invited police into the building, and Assange was arrested again. Sweden has now dropped its charges against him – but the US still wants him for his role in several major data breaches.
- The centerpiece of Assange’s defense is that he’s a journalist and has a right to publish newsworthy facts he obtains. However, the new indictment paints a picture of Assange actively seeking out information, often breaking the law to obtain it.
- For example, the DOJ has charged Assange with conspiracy together with former US Army soldier Bradley/Chelsea Manning. They allege Assange and Manning worked together to break the password to an official computer so Manning could steal thousands of classified documents.
- Now the Justice Department says Assange also tried to recruit foreign hackers to break into US government computers to steal data. He’s alleged to have conspired with hacking groups including Anonymous, which specializes in using computers to attack those the group thinks are dangerous or antisocial.
- Assange also worked with a teenage hacker, according to the DOJ. The 17-year-old gave him data stolen from a bank’s computers, and Assange then asked him to collect more data, including audiotapes of administration staffers.
Prosecutors say Assange lied to potential recruits, telling them there’s no law against stealing top-secret information. Now the feds want to show that he got that seriously wrong.
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