The United States Justice Department introduced 17 brand-new criminal charges against WikiLeaks creator Julian Assange on Thursday, claiming he illegally released the names of classified sources, conspired with and aided ex-Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in acquiring access to classified information.
The superseding indictment comes a little bit greater than a month after the Justice Department unsealed a narrower criminal case against Assange.
Assange was originally charged with conspiring with Manning to access to a government computer system as part of a 2010 leak by WikiLeaks of numerous thousands of United States armed forces records regarding the battles in Afghanistan as well as Iraq.
Wikileaks defines itself as specializing in the publication of “censored or otherwise restricted official materials involving war, spying and corruption.”
Assange is currently battling extradition to the USA, after Ecuador in April withdrew his seven-year asylum in the nation’s London embassy. He was detained that day, April 11, by British authorities as he left the embassy.
He is currently serving a 50-week sentence in a London prison for skipping bail when he fled to the Ecuadorean embassy in 2012.
The choice to charge Assange with espionage criminal offenses is significant, as well as uncommon. The majority of cases involving the theft of classified information have actually targeted public servants, like Manning, not the individuals that release the details publicly.
The Justice Department’s fast turn-around with the filing of a much more significant charge against Assange is not shocking.