Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 8 July 2020

WikiLeaks' Assange accused of conspiring with Anonymous hackers

US Justice Department claims Assange dealt with top hacker who was co-operating with FBI

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange faces a new indictment in the US. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange faces a new indictment in the US. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange conspired with hackers affiliated with the Anonymous and LulzSec groups, which have been linked to cyber attacks around the world, a new US indictment says.

Mr Assange, who is detained in the UK on a US extradition request, is alleged to have given the leader of LulzSec a list of targets to hack in 2012, the US Justice Department said on Wednesday.

He told the leader that the most influential release of hacked material would be from the CIA, National Security Agency or The New York Times, the department said.

The LulzSec leader was co-operating with the FBI at the time, the department said.

It said a hacker affiliated with Anonymous and LulzSec stole emails through a data breach of a US intelligence consulting company and they were published in WikiLeaks.

Mr Assange is alleged to have indirectly asked that hacker to spam the same company again, the US said.

The indictment released on Wednesday does not add new charges against Mr Assange but broadens the conspiracy allegations against him, the Justice Department said.

It continues to allege that he conspired with Army Intelligence Analyst Chelsea Manning to crack a password to a classified US Department of Defence computer.

The US has charged Mr Assange, 48, with endangering national security by conspiring to obtain and disclose classified information.

He is accused of working with Manning to get classified documents from databases containing about 90,000 Afghanistan war-related activity reports, 400,000 Iraq war-related reports and 250,000 State Department documents.

Mr Assange's legal representatives have not yet commented on the new indictment.

He is in the high-security Belmarsh Prison in South London.

He faces charges under the US Espionage Act for the 2010 release by WikiLeaks of a trove of secret files detailing aspects of US military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

A ruling against Mr Assange could see him jailed for 175 years.

He took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012 after skipping bail to avoid separate legal proceedings in Sweden, but was dragged out by British police last year.

Mr Assange failed in his bid for bail in March after he said that he was at risk of catching coronavirus in Belmarsh.

Updated: June 25, 2020 05:46 AM

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