WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange faces superseding indictment for conspiring with LulzSec hackers

Pierluigi Paganini June 25, 2020

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange attempted to recruit hackers at conferences in Europe and Asia who could have stolen info for his anti-secrecy site, states DoJ.

US Department of Justice claims Julian Assange tried to recruit hackers at conferences in Europe and Asia to steal classified information on his behalf and that could have been published on his anti-secrecy website.

According to the authorities, one of the hackers was an FBI informant.

The US Department of Justice has filed a superseding indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, it does not contain additional charges beyond the 18 counts unsealed last year by DoJ. 

“The new indictment does not add additional counts to the prior 18-count superseding indictment returned against Assange in May 2019.  It does, however, broaden the scope of the conspiracy surrounding alleged computer intrusions with which Assange was previously charged.” DoJ said in a press release. “According to the charging document, Assange and others at WikiLeaks recruited and agreed with hackers to commit computer intrusions to benefit WikiLeaks.”

The indictment broadens the original charges to include more serious accusations against Assange. According to the DoJ, the WikiLeaks founder conspired and tried to recruit Anonymous and LulzSec hacker to steal confidential and secret data on his behalf.

In 2010, Assange gained unauthorized access to a government computer system of a NATO country and years later he contacted s LulzSec leader who was working for the FBI and provided him a list of targets.

“In 2010, Assange gained unauthorized access to a government computer system of a NATO country.  In 2012, Assange communicated directly with a leader of the hacking group LulzSec (who by then was cooperating with the FBI), and provided a list of targets for LulzSec to hack.  With respect to one target, Assange asked the LulzSec leader to look for (and provide to WikiLeaks) mail and documents, databases and pdfs.  In another communication, Assange told the LulzSec leader that the most impactful release of hacked materials would be from the CIA, NSA, or the New York Times.  WikiLeaks obtained and published emails from a data breach committed against an American intelligence consulting company by an “Anonymous” and LulzSec-affiliated hacker.  According to that hacker, Assange indirectly asked him to spam that victim company again.” states DoJ.

“In addition, the broadened hacking conspiracy continues to allege that Assange conspired with Army Intelligence Analyst Chelsea Manning to crack a password hash to a classified U.S. Department of Defense computer.”

The US authorities also accuse Assange of having conspired with Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to crack a password hash for an Army computer to access classified documents that were later published on the WikiLeaks website.

In April 2019, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after Ecuador withdrew asylum after seven years.

In 2012 a British judge ruled WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault there, but Assange received political asylum from Ecuador and spent the last years in its London embassy.

In May 2019, the WikiLeaks founder has been sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for breaching his bail conditions in 2012 and finding asylum into Ecuador’s London embassy for more than seven years.

A few weeks later, the United States Department of Justice charged Assange with 18 counts on the alleged violation of the Espionage Act.

“Assange is currently detained in the United Kingdom on an extradition request from the United States.  Assange’s extradition to the United States is being handled by the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs and UK authorities, including the Home Office and the Crown Prosecution Service for England and Wales.” concludes the DoJ.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Assange, Wikileaks)

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