Julian Assange was charged yesterday (Thursday, May 23, 2019) for 18 counts on behalf of the Espionage Act for orchestrating the WikiLeaks disclosures in 2010. According to the Justice Department, new charges by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia allege that “Assange's actions could cause serious harm to the national security of the United States in benefit of our adversaries ».
The charges include an alleged conspiracy between Manning and Assange to obtain, receive and disclose national defense information. in violation of the Espionage Act, a law that is rarely used against a person.
In response to Thursday's accusation, Assange's Washington attorney, Barry Pollack, said that Assange was accused
"To instigate sources to provide truthful information and to publish this information."
"The part that talks about the alleged hacking has been removed," Pollack said. "These unprecedented allegations demonstrate the seriousness of the threat posed by the criminal proceedings against Julian Assange to all journalists who make an effort to inform the public about the actions taken by the US government.
According to the announcement of the Ministry of Justice, Assange incurs a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for each countexcept for one count of conspiracy to commit a computer intrusion.
Assange had already been indicted in April for conspiring to charge a computer hack for his coordination role with Manning.
At the time, legal experts had stated that the indictment could be a substitute for the heavier charges that could be launched at a later date.
“The Department does not have and has never had a policy of directing them to reports. Julian Assange is not a journalist, this is clear from the entirety of his conduct, as alleged in the indictment.
WikiLeaks, however, reacted to the news by tweeting that this amounted to "the end of national security and first amendment journalism."
Based on WikiLeaks activities over the past fifteen years, this accusation is not surprising. And while it's not surprising, it's annoying, "said John Cohen, former Acting Under Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security.
The new indictment comes just a week after Manning, a former US intelligence analyst and anti-secrecy activist, He was sentenced to prison after a federal judge convicted him of contempt in court for contesting a summons to appear before a grand jury.
This grand jury is convened before the same federal court where prosecutors have brought their charges against Assange.
The indictment recalls Assange's repeated requests regarding specific confidential data, including unclassified but non-public sources and explicitly classified data.
Among the items Assange leaked that were mentioned and that belong to the list of «Most Wanted Leaks» include:
- Intellipedia - The open source intelligence community shared database, managed by the CIA Open Source Center.
- other "bulk databases" containing military and intelligence data.
- Military and intelligence services, including the "Rules of Engagement for Iraq and Afghanistan 2007-2009 (SECRET)"; operating and interrogation procedures at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. documents relating to the Guantanamo detainees.
- CIA detainee interrogation videos
- Information on certain weapon systems.
Indictment Alleges Assange Released Classified Documents They contain "the names of sources who provided information to US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and to US State Department diplomats around the world." The Justice Department spokesman said.
"These human sources include local Afghans and Iraqis, journalists, religious leaders, human rights defenders and political dissidents from repressive regimes." According to the indictment, Assange "has created a serious and imminent risk that the innocent people he named will be victims of serious physical abuse and / or arbitrary detention."
The indictment even links WikiLeaks to Osama bin Laden and notes that the Taliban have used WikiLeaks documents to locate informants working for the US military and the Afghan government.