WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange tried to recruit hackers at conferences in Europe and Asia and conspired with members of hacking groups, including LulzSec and “Anonymous,” to obtain government secrets, the United States Department of Justice said. .
The new allegations against Assange were summed up in an indictment updated on Wednesday.
The “replacement charge” contains no additional charges beyond the 18 charges that the Justice Department revealed last year. But prosecutors said he underlined Assange’s efforts to obtain and disclose classified information, allegations that form the basis of the criminal charges he already faces.
Beyond recruiting hackers at the conference, the indictment accuses Assange of gaining unauthorized access to a government NATO country computer system in 2010. Two years later, he conspired with the LulzSec leader and requested that documents and databases will be provided. Justice Department said.
“In another communication, Assange told the LulzSec leader that the most shocking release of pirated materials would be from the CIA, the NSA or the New York Times,” he said.
Assange also posted on WikiLeaks emails of a data breach by a consulting firm in the US intelligence community by a hacker affiliated with LulzSec and “Anonymous,” he added.
Assange, 48, was arrested last year after being evicted from the Ecuadorian embassy in London and is at the center of a continuing extradition dispute over whether he should be sent to the United States.
‘Abuse of power’
The Justice Department has already accused him of conspiring with former United States Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in one of the largest classified information engagements in United States history. Prosecutors say the WikiLeaks founder damaged national security by publishing hundreds of thousands of classified documents, including diplomatic cables and military files on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which harmed the United States and its allies and aided their adversaries.
Assange maintains that he was acting as a journalist entitled to First Amendment protection. Her attorneys have argued that the charges of espionage and computer misuse in the United States are politically motivated and an abuse of power.
Assange’s lawyer, Barry Pollack, said in a statement that “the government’s relentless search for Julian Assange represents a serious threat to journalists everywhere and to the public’s right to know.”
“While today’s replacement indictment is yet another chapter in the US government’s effort to persuade the public that its search for Julian Assange is based on more than just its publication of truthful newsworthy information” He added, “the prosecution continues to accuse him of raping him.” the WikiLeaks Post-Based Espionage Act Exposing War Crimes Committed by the United States Government. “
The accusations at the new conference prosecution center as early as 2009, in places like the Netherlands and Malaysia, in which prosecutors say he and a WikiLeaks associate attempted to recruit hackers who could locate classified information, including material on the ” Most wanted leaks. ” “list published on the WikiLeaks website.
According to the new indictment, he told potential recruits that, unless they were members of the US Army. In the USA, they had no legal responsibility for their actions.
At a conference in Malaysia, called the “Hack in the Box Security Conference,” Assange told the audience, “I was a famous teenage hacker in Australia, and I’ve been reading emails from generals since I was 17 years old.”