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The WikiLeaks figurehead was charged with trying to break into a U.S. computer.
Just hours after his arrest at the Ecuadorian Embassy by British authorities, the U.S. officially revealed an indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Assange was charged with “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion” for his role in the helping Chelsea Manning crack a password to access government files, which WikiLeaks eventually published.
From the Department of Justice:
The indictment alleges that in March 2010, Assange engaged in a conspiracy with Chelsea Manning, a former intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army, to assist Manning in cracking a password stored on U.S. Department of Defense computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network (SIPRNet), a U.S. government network used for classified documents and communications. Manning, who had access to the computers in connection with her duties as an intelligence analyst, was using the computers to download classified records to transmit to WikiLeaks. Cracking the password would have allowed Manning to log on to the computers under a username that did not belong to her. Such a deceptive measure would have made it more difficult for investigators to determine the source of the illegal disclosures.
During the conspiracy, Manning and Assange engaged in real-time discussions regarding Manning’s transmission of classified records to Assange. The discussions also reflect Assange actively encouraging Manning to provide more information. During an exchange, Manning told Assange that “after this upload, that’s all I really have got left.” To which Assange replied, “curious eyes never run dry in my experience.”
The cache of documents published by WikiLeaks included a video of U.S. soldiers killing journalists in Iraq.
The indictment of Assange had long been speculated and was accidentally revealed by the government in another case. Assange is expected to be extradited to the U.S.
You can read the whole indictment here.
David Covucci is the Layer 8 editor at the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the web. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected]