Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, is in custody in the United Kingdom (UK) after being arrested for allegedly breaching his bail conditions. His seven-year self-imposed exile in London's Ecuadorean embassy ended dramatically April 11, 2019, after his asylum was revoked. Mr Assange also faces extradition to the United States (see below). His supporters are calling it a 'dark day for journalism.' Channel 4 News (UK) video above published Apr 11, 2019.
Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 11, 2019
WikiLeaks Founder Charged in Computer Hacking Conspiracy
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Julian P. Assange, 47, the founder of WikiLeaks, was arrested today in the United Kingdom pursuant to the U.S./UK Extradition Treaty, 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.
According to court documents unsealed today, the charge relates to Assange’s alleged role in one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States.
The indictment alleges that in March 2010, Assange engaged in a conspiracy with Chelsea Manning, a former intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army, to assist Manning in cracking a password stored on U.S. Department of Defense computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network (SIPRNet), a U.S. government network used for classified documents and communications. Manning, who had access to the computers in connection with her duties as an intelligence analyst, was using the computers to download classified records to transmit to WikiLeaks. 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.
During the conspiracy, Manning and Assange engaged in real-time discussions regarding Manning’s transmission of classified records to Assange. The discussions also reflect Assange actively encouraging Manning to provide more information. During an 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.”
Assange is charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, and Nancy McNamara, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the charges were unsealed. First Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Doherty-McCormick, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kellen S. Dwyer, Thomas W. Traxler and Gordon D. Kromberg, and Trial Attorneys Matthew R. Walczewski and Nicholas O. Hunter of the Justice Department’s National Security Division are prosecuting the case.
The extradition will be handled by the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:18-cr-111.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court. [emphasis added]
DOJ's Indictment of Assange (pdf) embed below:
The extradition of Julian Assange to the US for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan should be opposed by the British government.--Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour PartyThis shocking video from Iraq, revealed by WikiLeaks, showing the killing of civilians and Reuters journalists provides some context to today’s moves towards extraditing Julian Assange to the USA. pic.twitter.com/GQwg0Spbz6— Richard Burgon MP (@RichardBurgon) April 11, 2019
** STATEMENT: Chelsea's legal team responds to today's unsealed indictment. This is further evidence that the government's continued imprisonment of Chelsea for her principled stance against grand jury secrecy is punitive, cruel and unnecessary https://t.co/WZiDuVWHPa— Chelsea E. Manning (@xychelsea) April 11, 2019
Here's our article: the U.S. Government's indictment of Julian Assange poses grave threats to press freedoms https://t.co/IVWBI7YuH9— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) April 12, 2019
For people who have spent 3 years claiming that (1) WikiLeaks is an arm of Russian intelligence and (2) Putin controls Trump, how do you reconcile those conspiracy beliefs with the fact that it was the Trump administration that devoted itself with such vigor to indicting Assange? pic.twitter.com/IcDiXOCHhZ— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) April 12, 2019
The continued imprisonment of @xychelsea is an utter disgrace. The arrest of Julian Assange represents an extremely dangerous crossing of the rubicon. This is an assault on journalism and a free press. All journalists should stand in fierce opposition.— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) April 11, 2019
Arrest of Wikileaks' Assange in UK takes him a step closer to poss extradition to US, and potential "serious human rights violations", warn @UNHumanRights experts.https://t.co/g5rzBX8YnZ— UN News (@UN_News_Centre) April 11, 2019