The Justice Department on Thursday charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with violating the US Espionage Act by publishing military and diplomatic files in 2010, rejecting his claim that he is a journalist.
The department unveiled 17 new charges against Assange, accusing him of directing and abetting intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in stealing secret US files, and also recklessly exposing confidential sources in the Middle East and China who were named in the files.
The charges against Assange, now 18 in total, reject his claim that he was simply a publisher receiving leaked material from Manning, an action that is protected under the US Constitution's First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of the press.
A new indictment alleges that Assange actively conspired with Manning to steal the hundreds of thousands of classified files "with reason to believe that the information was to be used to the injury of the United States or the advantage of a foreign nation," the Justice Department said.
It also said that Assange rejected the US State Department's warning in 2010 to redact the names of its and the US military's confidential sources in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Iran and China, sources it said included journalists, religious leaders, human rights advocates, and political dissidents.
Our IP Address: