CNN, citing anonymous government officials, says the United States has decided it will seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for the sharing of classified information.
“Prosecutors have struggled with whether the First Amendment precluded the prosecution of Assange, but now believe they have found a way to move forward,” reads CNN’s article on the topic.
CNN claims to have spoken with “U.S. officials familiar with the matter,” who say they have prepared charges to seek Assange’s arrest.
The network further states that “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.”
Prior to that shift, the U.S. had reportedly been hesitant to charge Assange because outlets like The New York Times had also published details from those same documents.
CNN goes on to state that the U.S. was previously counting on a new government in Ecuador to give Assange the boot from the country’s embassy in London.
The candidate who ultimately won the election stated they would not do so, dashing that hope.
During a press conference earlier, Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated 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 announced.
“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.”
Sessions did not appear to mention charges against Assange.
See the full press conference below.
Assange’s lawyer currently says he has heard nothing of charges to be pressed against Assange by the Department of Justice.
“They’ve been unwilling to have any discussion at all, despite our repeated requests, that they let us know what Mr. Assange’s status is in any pending investigations,” said Barry Pollack, according to CNN.
“There’s no reason why Wikileaks should be treated differently from any other publisher.”