WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been forced to seek refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since August 2012.
During that time, the U.S. government has been working on a criminal case against the anti-secrecy activist.
Now, that case is coming to a head, and it doesn’t look good for Assange.
The Department of Justice is preparing charges against the pro-transparency activist, despite First Amendment concerns.
“US authorities have prepared charges to seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, US officials familiar with the matter tell CNN.
The Justice Department investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks dates to at least 2010, when the site first gained wide attention for posting thousands of files stolen by the former US Army intelligence analyst now known as Chelsea Manning.
Prosecutors have struggled with whether the First Amendment precluded the prosecution of Assange, but now believe they have found a way to move forward.”
The government is taking the controversial position that helping Edward Snowden expose Barack Obama’s illegal domestic spying program eliminates any First Amendment concerns.
CNN also reported:
“The US view of WikiLeaks and Assange began to change after investigators found what they believe was proof that WikiLeaks played an active role in helping Edward Snowden, a former NSA analyst, disclose a massive cache of classified documents.
Assange remains holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, seeking to avoid an arrest warrant on rape charges in Sweden. In recent months, US officials had focused on the possibility that a new government in Ecuador would expel Assange and he could be arrested. But the left-leaning presidential candidate who won the recent election in the South American nation has promised to continue to harbor Assange.
Last week in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, CIA Director Mike Pompeo went further than any US government official in describing a role by WikiLeaks that went beyond First Amendment activity.
He said WikiLeaks “directed Chelsea Manning to intercept specific secret information, and it overwhelmingly focuses on the United States.”
“It’s time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: A non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia,” Pompeo said.”
The intelligence community has also promoted – without citing evidence – that WikiLeaks is a front for Russian intelligence.
Intelligence officials claimed Russia was responsible for obtaining the hacked emails from John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee that WikiLeaks published over the summer.
But Assange has long denied Russia was his source.
WikiLeaks has said their source was a whistleblower.
The lack of evidence has led many Americans to question the official story.
Were the Russians really behind the email hacks?
Were they in cahoots with WikiLeaks?
The attempt to charge Assange raises even more questions.