WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is now facing a new indictment in the United States for attempting to hire hackers to obtain classified information at conferences in the Netherlands and Malaysia in 2009 for publication for a listed posted on WikiLeaks titled “Most Wanted Leaks.”
According to the indictment released by the United States Justice Department on Wednesday, Assange was working with hacking groups such as LulzSec and Anonymous as well as a 17 year-old hacker who gave him information from a bank. This information included audio recordings form high ranking government officials. Assange allegedly told recruited hackers that they would face no legal repercussions for leaking the information unless they are members of the U.S. military, “because’ TOP SECRET’ meant nothing as a matter of law.”
Assange’s lawyer Barry Pollack said in a statement, “the government’s relentless pursuit of Julian Assange poses a grave threat to journalists everywhere and to the public’s right to know.”
He added, “While today’s superseding indictment is yet another chapter in the U.S. Government’s effort to persuade the public that its pursuit of Julian Assange is based on something other than his publication of newsworthy truthful information, the indictment continues to charge him with violating the Espionage Act based on WikiLeaks publications exposing war crimes committed by the U.S. Government.”
The recent indictment, however, does not include Assange’s previous criminal records. The Justice Department charged him with one of the largest compromises in U.S. history. He allegedly worked with U.S. Army analyst Chelsea Manning to crack the password to a government computer. Prosecutors argue that this event negatively impacted national security due to the fact that hundreds of thousands of classified documents were published on WikiLeaks. The documents included both diplomatic and military files about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.