WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by British authorities on Thursday after his expulsion from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He will likely face extradition to the United States for charges dating back to March 2018 that were unsealed following his arrest in the United Kingdom.
Soon after Assange’s arrest on Thursday, the Justice Department unsealed court documents of charges related to WikiLeaks’ publication of videos and documents leaked by US Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning starting in 2010. The indictment alleges that Assange engaged in a conspiracy with Manning to crack a password on a Defense Department computer network for classified documents and communications to download classified records and transmit them to WikiLeaks.
As Vox’s Andrew Prokop laid out, WikiLeaks, thanks to Manning’s actions, published a video of an airstrike in Iraq that killed civilians, military documents about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and State Department cables in which diplomats gave candid assessments of foreign governments.
In a statement, the department called the incident “one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States.” It has been known for months that the US government had filed charges against Assange, but we didn’t know what they were until now.
The Justice Department said on Thursday that Assange’s arrest was tied to the US/UK extradition treaty in connection with a “federal charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified US government computer.” Assange has also for years had an outstanding arrest warrant in the UK because in 2012 he skipped out on bail to avoid extradition related to a sexual assault accusation against him in Sweden, and he has been in Ecuador’s London embassy for seven years.
Now it appears highly likely that Assange will be extradited to the US, and we finally know what the charges against him are. Read the indictment, from March 2018, below or at this link.