The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday unveiled the new superseding indictment against the WikiLeaks publisher, adding to existing computer intrusion charges.
By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News
The Justice Department on Wednesday said it had filed a second superseding indictment against imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, adding to existing computer intrusion charges.
“The new indictment does not add additional counts to the prior 18-count superseding indictment returned against Assange in May 2019,” the DOJ said in a press release.
“It does, however, broaden the scope of the conspiracy surrounding alleged computer intrusions with which Assange was previously charged,” the release said. “According to the charging document, Assange and others at WikiLeaks recruited and agreed with hackers to commit computer intrusions to benefit WikiLeaks.”
The DOJ release said the new indictment alleges that,
“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.”
The indictment quotes Assange at hacking conferences encouraging hackers to obtain a “Most Wanted Leaks” list of classified materials that WikiLeaks sought to publish.
It provides new allegations that Assange instructed a “teenager” from an unnamed NATO country to conduct various hacks “including audio recordings of phone conversations between high-ranking officials” of the NATO nation as well as members of parliament from that country. The indictment claims Manning “downloaded classified State Department materials” about this country.