Talk about turning on a friend.
Following Wikileaks’s distribution of tens of thousands of emails that were stolen from key individuals in the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign — something which, quite simply, helped the Trump campaign — the Trump administration is preparing to press charges against Wikileaks head Julian Assange, according to CNN.
Distributing secrets of the Democratic Party isn’t, of course, the only thing that Wikileaks has done. The controversial organization has also leaked secrets of the U.S. war machine; it’s in that incident that Wikileaks rose to the level of infamy that it had before the more recent Russian-driven email hacking scandal.
The White House has sought to prosecute Assange in the past, but that never got off the ground.
CNN says that President Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder concluded that there was little to no basis to go after Wikileaks in particular due to the fact that they were far from the only organization to publish the leaked documents in question. The argument was that publishing the leaked documents was an exercise of free speech, and as such, it could not be prosecuted.
However, the federal government has come up with another inroad to seek the arrest of Wikileaks head Assange — Edward Snowden.
As CNN reports:
‘The US 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.’
President Trump’s CIA head Mike Pompeo went even farther then that, saying in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington that Wikileaks “directed Chelsea Manning to intercept specific secret information, and it overwhelmingly focuses on the United States.”
Chelsea Manning is the member of the Armed Forces who leaked the aforementioned treasure trove of U.S. war machine related documents.
What Pompeo and others are suggesting is that the U.S. federal government has disentangled Wikileaks activities from those of the general free press, accusing the organization of specifically targeting the United States by helping along two of the past decade’s most notorious leakers.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in a Thursday press conference, called the arrest of Assange a “priority” for the United States, according to CNN.
‘We are going to step up our effort and already are stepping up our efforts on all leaks… 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… whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail.’
Wikileaks’s most recent data drop was a trove of information about the CIA’s remote hacking capabilities.
Of course, there’s a problem with the grand rhetoric of Pompeo, Sessions, and others.
Assange is currently living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and there’s no indication that the Ecuadorian government will be expelling him, and thus effectively turning him over to law enforcement, any time soon.
Featured Image via Tolga Akmen/ Anadolu Agency/ Getty Images.