US to Arrest WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Following Legal Loophole
Authorities prepare charges to put whistleblower in custody
The US Government is preparing charges to place Julian Assange under arrest following a legal loophole that will strip the WikiLeaks founder of his First Amendment rights, according to officials.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has revealed that arresting the infamous whistleblower is an "absolute priority" and that the Department of Justice has now "found a way to move forward" with Assange's arrest.
Julian Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy since 2012 over fears he will be extradited to the United States on espionage charges for releasing classified information to the public.
US prosecutors have struggled with whether the First Amendment precluded the prosecution of Assange, but now believe they have "found a way to move forward".
During the Obama Administration, prosecutors claimed it was too difficult to bring charges against WikiLeaks, as they weren't alone in publishing leaked documents, as other websites, including The New York Times, also published the same information.
Assange has also been protected by his First Amendment rights to free speech, but now the DoJ claims to have proof that WikiLeaks activity has "gone beyond First Amendment activity".
Last week, CIA Director Mike Pompeo went further than any US government official in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, by saying 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.
Chelsea Manning was convicted on charges of violating the Espionage Act by court-martial after the former US Army soldier leaked millions of classified files to WikiLeaks.
Her sentence was later commuted by President Obama in the final hours of his presidency.
In a statement about charges being prepared for WikiLeaks from the AG, Jeff Sessions said:
"We are going to step up our effort and already are stepping up our efforts on all leaks."
"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.”
According to Assange's lawyer, Barry Pollack;
"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 said WikiLeaks is no different from the Washington Post and the New York Times, which routinely publish stories based on classified information.
WikiLeaks, he says, publishes information that is in "the public's interest to know not just about the United States but other governments around the world."