If there’s been any reliable source of Republican opposition to Donald Trump’s administration, Senator Ben Sasse fits the bill. He’s a conservative senator from Nebraska, hailing from a state which President Trump won by a wide, 25-point margin. And yet, he’s still been willing to frequently joust with him, particularly when it comes to WikiLeaks, calling for the imprisonment of Julian Assange and accusing Wikileaks of regularly publishing American national security information “for the benefit of Russia.”
On Saturday, Sasse said he’s seeing consequences of his criticism.
Heads-up…— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) March 11, 2017
I've been critical of Assange & WikLeaks this week.
Am having multiple "password reset" attempts right now.
(basically every device, every platform, personal and govt) https://t.co/J53RJWT9Hj— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) March 11, 2017
The tweet calling for Assange’s imprisonment was sent last Thursday, from his personal Twitter account (@SenSasse rather than @BenSasse). And just two days later, he made the worrisome claim that people are trying to break into them via illegitimate password reset attempts. It’s a feeling that anyone who’s ever been the victim of a simple password reset hacking attempt can understand—an email comes through about an unauthorized attempt, a sign that someone out there is trying to break in.
While just a few years ago it wouldn’t have been at all controversial for a Republican to strongly criticize WikiLeaks, that reality has changed somewhat, thanks to the current polarization of the American political system and the anti-secrecy organization’s role in releasing hacked emails last year that benefited Trump’s general election campaign. No less than Fox News host Sean Hannity is now more or less openly pro-WikiLeaks. Also, the president himself hasn’t even condemned the latest release of CIA surveillance information, a glaring shift from the previous Obama administration.
It’s important to note that it’s unclear whether the hacking attempts Sasse says he’s suffered are actually the result of his anti-WikiLeaks commentary, and frankly. unless the culprits are somehow publicly exposed, it’s impossible to get a certain, definitive answer. But the organization does have countless ardent and sometimes vociferous supporters online, so Sasse’s interpretation of the series of events seems, at the very least, believable. But none of Sasse’s accounts have been compromised so far, meaning he hasn’t had to defend himself from charges of drunk-tweeting just yet.