What Was Assange Charged With? Is It Related To The Practice Of Journalism?

Renato Mariotti / Twitter

Assange was arrested for conspiring to crack a Pentagon computer, not for anything related to press freedom.

On Thursday, British authorities arrested Julian Assange after the Ecuadorian Embassy in London ended the Wikileaks founder's asylum. The charges he faced from the U.S. dated back to March 2018 but were previously unknown to the public. But soon after his arrest, the Justice Department released court documents of indictments related to the publication of confidential videos, files, and documents released by former US Army Private and whistleblower Chelsea Manning beginning in 2010.

The newly released charges claim that Assange conspired with Manning to hack into a Defense Department computer network to obtain and transmit classified filed to Wikileaks.

With help from Manning, Wikileaks publicized a video of a U.S. airstrike in Iraq that caused civilian casualties, secret documents about the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and cables from the State Department in which diplomats gave their honest assessments of foreign governments.

The Department of Justice labeled the incident as “one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States" in a statement issued Thursday.

The Justice Department continued saying that Assange's arrest was linked to the US/UK extradition treaty related to a "federal charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified US government computer.”

Since 2012, the Wikileaks founder has also had a warrant for his arrest in the UK because of an instance of alleged sexual assault in Sweden. He had been in Ecuador's embassy in London for the past seven years.

Assange will very likely be extradited to the US in light of the now-public charges.

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