Julian Assange who has been living at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012, was arrested by British authorities Thursday morning. Assange had been granted asylum at the embassy. In recent weeks there were public reports that Assange and his Ecuadorian handlers had, had a falling out. Rumors had been floating around for awhile that Assange would be evicted from the Embassy at some point.
The New York Times (@nytimes) reported, the United States charged Assange with one count of conspiracy to hack a government computer, hours after he was taken into custody by British authorities. The charge stems from Assange’s role in the 2010 release of reams of secret American documents. The charge stated that Assange agreed to break a password to a classified United States Government computer. “The Times” also stated that Assange had been on the United States Government’s radar since at least 2010 after he released American documents and videos about wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq, along with confidential “cables” sent among diplomats.
Assange may be best known as the founder of the website Wikil-leaks. The site gained national attention when it was accused of releasing thousands of emails that had been stolen from the computer systems of the Democratic National Party during the United States’ 2016 presidential election. United States investigators say the system was hacked by Russians.
Assange has the right to fight extradition to the United States to face the charges. In November of 2010, after questioning two months prior, Sweden issued a warrant for Assange’s arrest over allegations of sexual assault and rape. Assange denied the charges, and also refused to stand trial in Sweden because he claimed he would be extradited to the United States for his role in publishing secret American documents if he did. Assange eventually surrendered to U.K authorities on December 7th of the same year. He was released on bail in less than 10-days. Assange challenged the extradition to Sweden, but was denied. Before he could be arrested, Assange fled and absconded. Gaining himself another charge. This time in the UK, for skipping out on bail. In 2012 Assange was granted asylum by Ecuador. He stayed at the Ecuadorian Embassy until his arrest Thursday morning. The United States may not be the only Country that wants to speak with Mr. Assange.