Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 19 August 2019

Julian Assange meddled with US election from Ecuadorian embassy, report says

WikiLeaks activist reportedly met Russians and hackers during his confinement

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, pictured two years ago outside the Ecuadorean embassy in London. Getty
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, pictured two years ago outside the Ecuadorean embassy in London. Getty

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange used the Ecuadorean embassy as a command centre for hacking to undermine the 2016 US Presidential election, new documents have revealed.

The papers suggest couriers delivered hacked files to Assange at the embassy, where he lived for almost seven years, CNN reported.

The activist was confined to the embassy while trying to seek safe passage to Ecuador and escape extradition to the US, where he could face the death penalty for breaching the Official Secrets Act.

Assange was also trying to escape sexual assault charges he faced in Sweden.

But Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno said British officials would not send Assange to a country with capital punishment.

Hundreds of surveillance reports compiled for the Ecuadorian government by UC Global, a private Spanish security company, were obtained by CNN.

They said Assange met established hackers and Russians during his time at the embassy, often for several hours.

The report said he personally managed some of the leaks of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s private emails directly from the embassy, which the Mueller report concluded was part of an attempt to undermine the 2016 election.

The report concluded there was “no doubt that there is evidence” that Assange had ties to Russian intelligence agencies.

He denies working with Russia and said the emails were not leaked by the Kremlin.

This year, Washington lodged criminal charges against Assange for his role in the 2010 leaks of secret diplomatic memos and Pentagon war logs, which WikiLeaks retrieved from then US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

On April 3, 2019, WikiLeaks claimed the embassy would expel Mr Assange within hours but Jose Valencia, Ecuador’s Foreign Minister, said it was a rumour.

Then, on April 11, Assange was arrested by British authorities who were invited to the embassy by the Ecuadorean government.

He is now serving a one-year sentence in a London jail for skipping bail in the UK. Extradition to the US is still possible, but his legal team is working against it.

Updated: July 16, 2019 09:22 AM

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