United States authorities announced on Thursday that they are planning to seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
The Justice Department is aiming to press charges on Assange for the massive 2010 leaks on his website featuring classified documents that were stolen by Chelsea Manning, a former U.S. Army intelligence analyst.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions called arresting Assange a “priority.”
“We are going to step up our effort and already are stepping up our efforts on all leaks,” said Sessions at a news conference in Washington. “This is a matter that’s gone beyond anything I’m aware of. We have professionals that have been in the security business of the United States for many years that are shocked by the number of leaks and some of them are quite serious. So, yes, it is a priority. We’ve already begun to step up our efforts — and whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail.”
Mike Pompeo, the CIA director has a much tougher stance on Assange. He described him as a “fraud” and a “coward.”
“I am quite confident that had Assange been around in the 1930s and 40s and 50s, he would have found himself on the wrong side of history,” said Pompeo.
The former Obama administration decided to not pursue charges against Assange because other media outlets published the documents as well.
Apparently, the investigation was still ongoing and has been ignited after U.S. investigators found evidence that WikiLeaks helped Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor, release the thousands of classified documents he stole from the agency.
“We’ve had no communication with the Department of Justice and they have not indicated to me that they have brought any charges against Mr. Assange,” said Barry Pollack, Assange’s lawyer. “They’ve been unwilling to have any discussion at all, despite our repeated requests, that they let us know what Mr. Assange’s status is in any pending investigations. There’s no reason why WikiLeaks should be treated differently from any other publisher.”
Pollack also argues that the information published on WikiLeaks is in “the public’s interest to know not just about the United States but other governments around the world.”
Assange is currently hiding out at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and is avoiding arrest for rape charges in Sweden.
The Wikileaks founder believes that what is published is protected under Freedom of Speech and that the media has the right to expose the actions of governments and corporations.
“Quite simply, our motive is identical to that claimed by the New York Times and The Post — to publish newsworthy content,” wrote Assange in a recent op-ed in The Washington Post. “Consistent with the U.S. Constitution, we publish material that we can confirm to be true irrespective of whether sources came by that truth legally or have the right to release it to the media. And we strive to mitigate legitimate concerns, for example by using redaction to protect the identities of at-risk intelligence agents.”
Author’s note: How can the government go after Assange, but leave former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton alone? Clinton’s reckless use of an unsecured personal server put Central Intelligence Agencies at risk. This is apparently why the government is going after Assange, but Clinton is getting away with it because of her position of power. How is that fair?