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CIA allegedly plotted to have WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange killed

Senior CIA officials during Trump administration reportedly discussed the “assassination” of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The idea was proposed in a conversation that took place in 2017 whilst Assange was still seeking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy.

The assassination plot followed the WikiLeaks publication of “Vault 7”, a series of documents that detailed several CIA hacking tools and was one of the biggest data breaches in the agency’s history.

Image: ifg.org

This is not the first time Assange has found himself in the crosshairs of the US government.

WikiLeaks has made several publications with confidential information regarding war crimes committed by the US military in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay.

Though the US has been trying to extradite Assange for several years, this was the first time that the government had considered a more hostile measure.

Assange’s US lawyer had the following to say on the matter:

“As an American citizen, I find it absolutely outrageous that our government would be contemplating kidnapping or assassinating somebody without any judicial process simply because he had published truthful information.

“My hope and expectation is that the UK courts will consider this information and it will further bolster its decision not to extradite to the US,”

Assange is currently wanted by the American government for breach of the ‘Espionage Act’ which prevents individuals from leaking information.

The act has been heavily criticised, with human rights groups objecting to its potential use against investigative journalists who attempt to hold the government accountable for their actions.

Image: Picture Alliance

Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan explains how these acts can be very harmful to freedom of speech and accountability:

“Once we start down the road of applying the Espionage Act where newsworthy but harmful information is acquired from government sources, some of the most important journalistic efforts may be put at risk,” he said.

Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 until being forcibly removed and subsequently arrested in London in 2019.

Recently a US request for extradition was denied by UK courts on the grounds of “poor mental health”.

Assange faces up to 175 years imprisonment if he were to return to the US.

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