US Govt: Arresting WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Now a Top “Priority”
Donald Trump, October 10, 2016: “This just came out. WikiLeaks! I love WikiLeaks!” pic.twitter.com/KWP7X2aLiN
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 21, 2017
(RT) — Officials reportedly claim the Department of Justice is ready to file arrest charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Press advocates warn that if the US goes after the pro-transparency publisher, they could go after other news outlets as well.
On Thursday, CNN and the Washington Post cited unnamed US officials as having information that the US has prepared charges to make arrests related to WikiLeaks publishing tens of thousands of military documents leaked by Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning.
CNN specifically reported WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been living in a small room in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, was the subject of forthcoming arrest charges.
The Post reported multiple members of the WikiLeaks group were being targeted as prosecutors draft a memo laying out the charges. Possible charges include “conspiracy, theft of government property or violating the Espionage Act.” However, officials told the Post that the memo is still incomplete, and would need authorization from the highest levels of the Justice Department.
In recent months, the US hoped a new government in Ecuador would expel Assange from the embassy so he could be arrested. However, Ecuadorian President-elect Lenin Moreno, the apparent victor in the country’s recent election, has told Assange he can stay at the embassy under certain conditions.
Assange fears that leaving the embassy could his result in arrest by UK police and being extradited over an arrest warrant on rape allegations filed against him in Sweden.
READ MORE: Largest Human Rights Group in the World Calls for Investigation into Chicago’s Police “Black Site”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions was asked about the priority of dealing with the “scourge”