US Charges WikiLeaks Founder With Publishing Classified Info - NBC4 Washington
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

US Charges WikiLeaks Founder With Publishing Classified Info

The new indictment says Assange conspired with Chelsea Manning to obtain and disclose classified national defense documents

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    A Timeline of WikiLeaks' Julian Assange's Time in Self-Exile

    WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange had spent up to six years in self-imposed exile at the Ecuadorean embassy in London until he was forcibly carried out and arrested by British police. These were the events that led up to it. (Published Thursday, May 23, 2019)

    The U.S. filed new charges Thursday against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, accusing him of placing the United States at risk of "serious harm" by publishing thousands of secret and classified documents, including the names of confidential sources for American armed forces.

    In an 18-count, superseding indictment, Justice Department prosecutors allege that Assange directed former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in one of the largest compromises of classified information in U.S. history.

    The case presents immediate questions about media freedom, including whether the Justice Department is charging Assange for actions — such as soliciting and publishing classified information — that ordinarily journalists do as a matter of course. Department officials said Thursday they believe Assange strayed far outside First Amendment protections.

    The new Espionage Act charges go far beyond an initial indictment against Assange made public last month that accused him of conspiring with Manning to crack a defense computer password.

    Assange’s Lawyer on Arrest: ‘This Sets a Dangerous Precedent’Assange’s Lawyer on Arrest: ‘This Sets a Dangerous Precedent’

    Julian Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, told reporters outside a London court Thursday that her client’s arrest sets a dangerous precedent for the rights of journalists.

    (Published Thursday, April 11, 2019)

    Wikileaks caused particular harm by publishing the names of people who helped American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and U.S. diplomats around the world.

    The new indictment says Assange conspired with Manning to obtain and disclose classified national defense documents, including State Department cables and reports on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Prosecutors say his actions "risked serious harm" to the United States.

    Assange, 47, is in custody in London after being evicted from the Ecuadorian Embassy in April. The U.S. is seeking his extradition.