Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Crime The Internet United States Government

US Prepares Charges To Seek Arrest of WikiLeaks' Julian Assange (cnn.com) 369

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNN: U.S. authorities have prepared charges to seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, U.S. officials familiar with the matter tell CNN. The Justice Department investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks dates to at least 2010, when the site first gained wide attention for posting thousands of files stolen by the former U.S. Army intelligence analyst now known as Chelsea Manning. 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 President Barack Obama's administration, Attorney General Eric Holder and officials at the Justice Department determined it would be difficult to bring charges against Assange because WikiLeaks wasn't alone in publishing documents stolen by Manning. Several newspapers, including The New York Times, did as well. The investigation continued, but any possible charges were put on hold, according to U.S. officials involved in the process then.
The U.S. view of WikiLeaks and Assange began to change after investigators found what they believe was proof that WikiLeaks played an active role in helping Edward Snowden, a former NSA analyst, disclose a massive cache of classified documents.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said at a news conference Thursday that Assange's arrest is a "priority." "We are going to step up our effort and already are stepping up our efforts on all leaks," he said. "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." Meanwhile, Assange's lawyer said they have "had no communication with the Department of Justice."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

US Prepares Charges To Seek Arrest of WikiLeaks' Julian Assange

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, 2017 @09:04AM (#54275573)

    but rather to stop the world from hearing inconvenient truths and all the wrongs the U.S. is doing. Making an example out of Assange won't help anything though, there will just be someone else stepping up. Assange is not the problem, you are.

    • Of course (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You're absolutely right: this is about covering up past, present, and future abuses of power. But I think there's a bigger lesson here, and most of slashdot isn't going to like it:

      The government doesn't work for you, no matter how loud they shout it.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, 2017 @10:00AM (#54275911)

      "The world" has already been told everything it really needed to know. After the cablegate and Snowden revelations there should have been a massive backlash against the US. All countries, beginning with the EU, should have by right severed all connections with the US and imposed sanctions. People should have taken to the streets in protest day and night. What happened? Nothing. The whole world shrugged it off save for a few voices that were quickly marginalized and ridiculed. Apathy rules. All is lost.

  • by PortHaven ( 242123 ) on Friday April 21, 2017 @09:14AM (#54275617) Homepage

    Not being the NY Times, or rather, not being a part of the elite propaganda cartel. Damn the Constitution....full prosecution speed ahead.

    Seriously, and this is why I don't give a fuck about any laws anymore. Laws are there for you, not the elites. And the worst crime you can do in America, is to reveal the crimes of the elites to the masses.

    • by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Friday April 21, 2017 @09:35AM (#54275751) Homepage

      Wikileak published documents showing massive corruption in the democratic party. The big news organizations did not publish those leaks, they told their listeners it was illegal to even view them.

      • by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Friday April 21, 2017 @12:14PM (#54276889)
        The worst they showed is that Hillary was paid by banks to speak. We knew that already. We also know that corruption did not win HRC the nomination. [fivethirtyeight.com]

        The big news organizations didn't publish on it? Yeah, I forgot only the little guys like Time [time.com] or CNN [cnn.com] ran with stories from it.

        (/sarcasm) The big news organizations if anything failed to report clearly enough on the DNC e-mails. Too many bernie-bros who were convinced it proved the Clintons used their Benghazi military to crush Sanders, rather than "There was nothing much interesting in them."

        As for not publishing the e-mails themselves, that's kind of the SOP. Wikileaks publishes everything down to social security numbers and GPS coordinates of informants in war zones, responsible news organizations attempt to hide private details like phone numbers. No shit they didn't publish the leaks directly, that would have been irresponsible.
    • by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Friday April 21, 2017 @10:16AM (#54276013)

      Not being the NY Times, or rather, not being a part of the elite propaganda cartel. Damn the Constitution....full prosecution speed ahead.

      Seriously, and this is why I don't give a fuck about any laws anymore. Laws are there for you, not the elites. And the worst crime you can do in America, is to reveal the crimes of the elites to the masses.

      Well no, the real crime was playing an active role in helping Manning commit his crimes (ie leaking).

      If Snoewden decides to steal classified docs, and then decides to give them to you, then you're in the clear. You didn't commit a crime, you just published what he gave you.

      If you actively encourage someone to steal those specific docs, or if Snowden asks you for help on how to steal the docs, and you help him, then you've become an accomplice in Snowden's crime.

      This is where Assange supposedly got into trouble, not for publishing the NSA docs, but for assisting (probably advising) Snowden in how to steal and disclose them. Now whether those charges are legit is another question.

      Note that this is also relevant to Trump and his taxes, as a reporter if someone sends you Trump's taxes then you're in the clear to publish. But you're in trouble if you start advising them on how to steal them, or possibly even if you announce "can someone leak Trump's taxes to me". You go from being a publisher to an active participant in the act.

    • by Kagato ( 116051 )

      The crime happens when you solicit sources for classified documents. Which is legally distinct from being a media organization that just happened to get a drop of documents. There was a whole storyline in "The Newsroom" that covered it. In the past there was some talk that Assange's interactions with Manning in IRC may have crossed the line.

      If Trump irks Putin then he's not going to get Snowden. That leaves Assange as the scapegoat to "prove" he's not a Russian puppet. If I was Snowden I'd be quite happy to

  • by 8127972 ( 73495 ) on Friday April 21, 2017 @09:14AM (#54275627)

    As he's not going to leave that embassy that he's been living in for the last few years willingly unless he's forced out. And that doesn't seem like that's going to happen anytime soon. So unless President Von Clownstick cuts some sort of "amazing" deal with Ecuador that makes it worth their while to kick him out, this is nothing but a stunt by the Justice Department that doesn't mean anything.

    • by Rei ( 128717 )

      I don't know, I think the US has the capability to "peck" a bit harder (whether at Ecuador or the UK) than Sweden does.

      I do find it funny, after all of those years of railing against the evils of Obama, who never moved against him, and then helping get Trump elected, Trump's administration moves against him within its first 100 days ;)

      • by phayes ( 202222 )

        The Trump administration has "moved against [Assange] within its first 100 days"? Uh, no. They've _announced_ that they were going to mode against him but much like the carrier, it may take some time before they actually start moving in the stated direction.

        • by Rei ( 128717 )

          Haha, so in reality they're actually moving away from charging him, but plan to double back and actually charge him once they've resolved previous commitments to Australia? ;)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rei ( 128717 )

      Another aspect of this: the US can, if they charge him, continually toll the statute of limitations because Assange isn't present. Which means that the charges will remain until Assange dies. Which, if he doesn't leave, will be in the embassy. Also: how many elections do you think Ecuador will have before Assange dies?

      The funny thing is, had he just faced up to the charges in Sweden, he would have long since been done with serving his time, then left to the shelter-state of his choice, since Obama never saw

      • by jez9999 ( 618189 ) on Friday April 21, 2017 @12:20PM (#54276931) Homepage Journal

        Erm, you're assuming that he wouldn't have been extradited to the US before getting to Sweden, which was always his issue. Not dodging Swedish "justice".

        • If that was his issue, he's an idiot.

          He voluntarily moved to Sweden after the leaks. When Sweden became too hot for him, he voluntarily went to the UK. If you're trying to avoid being extradited to the US, the UK is about the last place you should go.

          So, when he faced serious criminal accusations in Sweden, suddenly he was in danger of being extradited to the US. When the UK found the Swedish extradition request to be completely proper (including accusing him of things that are felonies in English l

  • by dwillden ( 521345 ) on Friday April 21, 2017 @09:17AM (#54275647) Homepage
    At no time has Assange had a US security clearance. He has no legal obligation to not publish info others have provided. Those others (Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden, etc) are legally liable for leaking information they were legally obligated to protect. Not Assange.

    The US would have to prove that Assange directed the leakers to collect and transfer the leaked information to him. Other than this article I haven't seen any indication of such a level of control or oversight by Assange on his sources. They have chosen to commit espionage and have voluntarily chosen WikiLeaks. This article brings forth a claim of Bradly being directed by WikiLeaks but I have not seen that before not even during Bradley's trial and considering CNN's current reputation for creating "news" I doubt this unsubstantiated claim. So I'm having a hard time seeing how they charge him with anything that could stick.

    As to the Clinton campaign emails, last I heard WikiLeaks still insists they were provided by a disgruntled DNC staffer, not the Russians. But even if from the Russians, WikiLeaks did nothing illegal. They simply published information they had been provided, regardless of the source. They did not steal the data.
    • I don't know the particulars of applicable US law, but it doesn't seem unreasonable to be punished for knowingly spreading classified materials. If you don't have a security clearance, didn't sign an NDA, and wasn't sworn to secrecy, there's probably still some articles that apply. A quick google turns up 18 U.S. Code 798 [cornell.edu]
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        And as a non US citizen not residing in the US is suppose that he still has to comply with US law?

        • by phayes ( 202222 )

          Yes. Eichman committed no crimes in Israeli but was still executed in Israel.

        • And as a non US citizen not residing in the US is suppose that he still has to comply with US law?

          Correct. Just like a non-French citizen not residing in France has to comply with French law, and a non North Korean citizen not residing in North Korea has to comply with North Korean law. You "have to" comply with the laws of any nation, to the extent that that nation is likely to be able to enforce its laws against you.

      • by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Friday April 21, 2017 @09:47AM (#54275835) Journal

        The Supreme Court has overturned pretty much everything except, maybe, temporarily holding someone quiet to prevent revealing an imminent D-Day style invasion, and even theoretical at that.

        If he paid or aided, then he becomes a spy. If he just received and published, he is safe. The statement he has no First Amendment right because he is not a US citizen is an embarrassing statement by a US official. A law is a law and Congress shall make no law. The idea of making something illegal outside the jurisdiction of the US which cannot even be made illegal inside the US is contradictory seven ways from Sunday.

        • The statement he has no First Amendment right because he is not a US citizen is an embarrassing statement by a US official.

          If they want to try him in the US then they must do so in accordance with US law. The first amendment would protect him in a US trial on US soil whether he is a citizen or not. This is why they really try to avoid criminal proceedings against the prisoners at Gitmo.

      • by dwillden ( 521345 ) on Friday April 21, 2017 @10:31AM (#54276091) Homepage
        If you read 18 US 798 every section entails the legal responsibility to one entrusted with sensitive information. Assange has never been entrusted by the government with any of this data. He has no legal responsibility to protect it from further dissemination.
    • by Luthair ( 847766 )

      The US would have to prove that Assange directed the leakers to collect and transfer the leaked information to him

      IANAL but he wasn't even in the US to my knowledge so its hard to see how they would even have jurisdiction.

    • Other than this article I haven't seen any indication of such a level of control or oversight by Assange on his sources.

      Do not forget that we are now in the Age of Alternate Facts.

    • by Kagato ( 116051 )

      I would think he has some time to serve in the UK first for violating the terms of his house arrest. But who knows with the current government.

    • At no time has Assange had a US security clearance. He has no legal obligation to not publish info others have provided. [...] The US would have to prove that Assange directed the leakers to collect and transfer the leaked information to him.

      Well, and that is why it took so long to charge him: generally, prosecutors believed that he was protected under 1A, "but now believe they have found a way to move forward."

      This article brings forth a claim of Bradly being directed by WikiLeaks but I have not seen that

  • good idea ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, 2017 @09:22AM (#54275679)

    "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"
    Hello Secret US various services, you actually broke the law(s), performed illegal operations and basically fucked up your internal security.
    Do you have members you would like to nominate for internment or...?

    • Hello Secret US various services, you actually broke the law(s), performed illegal operations and basically fucked up your internal security.

      Operatives of intelligence agencies often break the laws of other countries. And when discovered, they get indicted, arrested, charged, and imprisoned if possible.

      If you think this is newsworthy, or represents a policy change, you really know little about international relations.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Guess the trumped up rape charges didn't pan out

  • First Amendment (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Friday April 21, 2017 @09:30AM (#54275713) Homepage

    This was never a first amendment issue. It was an espionage vs whistle blower issue.

    • by rcb1974 ( 654474 )
      The US Constitution, and its First Amendment speech protections does not apply outside the USA to non-citizens. SImilarly, I don't know how the USA can bring charges against someone who committed no crime inside the jurisdiction of the USA. This makes no sense. It is like Kim Dotcom's case. Why does US law even apply to a non-US citizen who lives outside the USA?
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Most of that was accepted under the Pentagon Papers https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
      "..responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people.. "
  • by meta-monkey ( 321000 ) on Friday April 21, 2017 @09:31AM (#54275731) Journal

    Anybody have the exact quote from Sessions?

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions said at a news conference Thursday that Assange's arrest is a "priority."

    "We are going to step up our effort and already are stepping up our efforts on all leaks," he said. "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."

    I'm very suspicious when the news media writes their own sentence and then quotes a single word from someone. Was Sessions talking specifically about Assange, or about leakers? Assange is not a leaker, he's a publisher of the things leakers leak. It's perfectly reasonable for the Justice Department to go after people who are entrusted with US government secrets who then leak them.

    Without the full question and answer, then it looks like Sessions could have just as easily said "we're going after leakers" and then CNN says "Assange is a leaker, therefore Sessions is going to arrest Assange," despite Sessions not saying or meaning that.

  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Friday April 21, 2017 @09:37AM (#54275755) Journal

    You just go in and arrest him at the embassy. I mean - he's in London, we just go in and take him.

    Wait, did you say that the Ecuadorian Embassy is actually sovereign land and to send a police or military force in to arrest and remove him would be an act of war? Well, you don't need to worry about that. We've just proven, by way of 59 cruise missiles, that even sovereign nations who do bad things are no barrier to the will (or should I say whim) of the United States. And they don't even have to go in by hand - I think a targeted drone strike would have a limited number of civilian casualties. And London doesn't have any room to complain, since they were perfectly fine with all the drone strikes in middle eastern countries where there were known criminals and we (usually) limited the civilian casualties.

    I don't see how this is going to be difficult - the US just needs to apply traditional tactics used on physical terrorists to the new crop of information terrorists.

  • by freax ( 80371 ) on Friday April 21, 2017 @09:39AM (#54275775) Homepage

    What am I missing here? I thought Assange isn't a US citizen. He also wasn't on US soil when he received, nor when he published the material. How is the US juridical system involved, then?

    • That doesn't matter - may I refer you to the case of the NatWest three and Navinder Singh Sarao, a day trader based in London who is about to be extradited to the US.

      People who have never stepped foot in the US have been extradited to the US to face charges.

    • What am I missing here? I thought Assange isn't a US citizen. He also wasn't on US soil when he received, nor when he published the material. How is the US juridical system involved, then?

      Imagine an American conspired with a Swede to murder someone in Sweden. I assume Sweden would be free to charge him an seek his extradition in much the same manner. The question is whether the other country decides to grant that extradition request.

      That's why there was so much outrage when the CIA kidnapped someone from Italy to take them to Guantanamo. If the US wanted to arrest that individual they should have asked Italy to extradite them, but the US doing it without asking? That's why Italy charged the

  • I don't understand what authority the US has to arrest a foreign national, in a foreign embassy, on foreign soil.

    • They have no authority.

      They do, however, have the authority to request the foreign country to extradite him or her and the foreign country must then decide whether that extradition can proceed.

      The foreign country will refuse the request either because it's politically expedient to refuse or, alternatively, it's not possible for them to extradite for the particular reason due to their laws. On the whole, countries are sensible and do not request extradition unless there's a reasonable chance the extradition

      • IANAL, but as I understand it:

        Assange is accused of rape in Sweden, and Sweden has asked the UK to extradite him. The UK found the request valid, and sought to get Assange to send him to Sweden, when he fled to the Ecuadorean embassy. He has clearly violated UK criminal law.

        If the Brits get him, they have to send him to Sweden. Sweden will deal with him and ship him back to the UK. It's illegal for Sweden to do anything else. At that time, he faces UK justice for the UK laws he violated, and possi

  • by K. S. Van Horn ( 1355653 ) on Friday April 21, 2017 @10:09AM (#54275979) Homepage
    Julian Assange is not a U.S. citizen. He does not run WikiLeaks from the U.S. It takes an incredible, overweening arrogance for U.S. officials to assume that every goddamned person in the world, wherever they may be, is subject to Washington's dictates. Imagine if the tables were turned -- say, the Russian government seeking to extradite and arrest an American citizen for acts that violated some Russian law but which occurred thousands of miles outside of Russian borders.
    • Imagine if the tables were turned -- say, the Russian government seeking to extradite and arrest an American citizen for acts that violated some Russian law but which occurred thousands of miles outside of Russian borders.

      Foreign governments charge US citizens with espionage all the time (not to mention other crimes) and, of course, demand extradition. Furthermore, the US has mutual extradition treaties with many countries and will extradite US citizens if certain conditions are met. Likewise, the US lives

  • I would have liked to see Assange pardoned and this matter cleared up. Obama had eight years to do this but dragged his feet, leaving Assange in legal limbo, because it was politically the most expedient thing to do.

  • Since it isn't (since he's bee cooped up at the Embassy) the party actually taking the files, but publishing files brought to him, and in a foreign country embassy no less (which is foreign territory) unless he is guilty of violating the laws of Ecuador, there isn't actually a LEGAL justification but a PR justification.

    Assange did indicate he was in the process of releasing a series of leaks that actually demonstrate illegal activities by the CIA and this may be a pre-emptive strike to supress that data b
  • by Miser ( 36591 ) on Friday April 21, 2017 @10:46AM (#54276183)

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and hope they DO arrest him.

    Why, you ask?

    So the dead man switch is activated and all of the horrible, nasty stuff that has been laying there, waiting to be exposed comes to light.

    That'll shake up the establishment.

  • by Tjp($)pjT ( 266360 ) on Friday April 21, 2017 @11:23AM (#54276521)
    Sure, what Snowden did was treason, and perhaps even a federal capital case could be prosecuted. But Snowden acted first to commit the crime. Where Assange was however, it was not a crime to publish documents given to him by a third party. And while Assange drove wikileaks, can the US categorically state Assange actually was the person who received the documents? No they can't; because wikileaks doesn't work that way. Wikileaks did not seek the documents out nor did they coerce Snowden to steal them in the first place. Assange, a foreign citizen, acted on material given to wikileaks, in a foreign country. There is no jurisdiction to enforce any US laws in connection with these acts. Snowden, yes, he committed treason and likely ITAR violations. But Assange acted outside the jurisdiction of the US.

    It is the hubris of the American Department of Justice to think that American law extends globally. The U.S. State Department warns US travelers that US law does not apply overseas and that US law does not protect them overseas. They recognize the sovereignty of the foreign countries. Why does the U.S. Department of Justice think they have the reach to pluck Assange out and prosecute him. Additionally every publisher that published excerpts from those documents is equally guilty, and many of those are on U.S. soil. Why aren't they being prosecuted? Because the US wants Assange on the general principle that Wikileaks is the actual enemy. But there will be serious unintended consequences on attempting to kidnap and prosecute Assange. The torrent (figuratively and literally) of data that will be released will be shocking. And Wikileaks has under Assange (before he holed up in the embassy) been a reasonable steward for the leaked data; at times wikileaks redacted data that identified people directly that would have resulted in loss of individuals lives. A mass data dump will not be so thoughtful.
  • by nehumanuscrede ( 624750 ) on Friday April 21, 2017 @12:51PM (#54277215)

    If you ever embarass the United States Government, there is no limit to the amount of time, resources and, if necessary, dirty or downright illegal tricks to ruin your life.

    Their reaction, however, pretty much legitimizes the Wikileaks documents as no one puts this much effort into removing a source vs disproving false information.

    It's hilarious the USG would rather go after the messenger vs leading by example and just following the rules.

    Quit doing illegal shit and there won't be much to report on will there ? :|

  • by SoftwareArtist ( 1472499 ) on Friday April 21, 2017 @02:45PM (#54278241)

    After all his efforts to help Trump get elected! He's been claiming for years the U.S. was out to get him, and he couldn't return to Sweden to face his rape charges because if he did they'd extradite him. But through all that time, the Obama administration never made any move to charge him with anything.

    Then Trump comes into office with help from Assange. And hardly three months later, they're preparing to charge him. I don't think you got what you were hoping for!

Introducing, the 1010, a one-bit processor. 0 NOP No Operation 1 JMP Jump (address specified by next 2 bits)

Working...