WikiLeaks Founder Pleads Guilty and Is Sentenced for Conspiring to Obtain and Disclose Classified National Defense Information

Press release from the Department of Justice: 

department of justice logo

Julian P. Assange, 52, the founder of WikiLeaks, pleaded guilty [on June 25] to conspiring with Chelsea Manning, at that time a U.S. Army intelligence analyst, to unlawfully obtain and disclose classified documents relating to the national defense. After obtaining classified national defense information from Manning, and aware of the harm that dissemination of such national defense information would cause, Assange disclosed this information on WikiLeaks.

The guilty plea concludes a criminal matter that dates back to March 2018, when Assange was first indicted in the Eastern District of Virginia. There, and in superseding indictments, Assange was charged with conspiring with Manning, then a “Top Secret” U.S. security clearance holder, to further Manning’s unlawful acquisition and transmission of bulk classified information, including Manning’s use of a government computer to illegally download hundreds of thousands of classified documents and transmit them without authorization to WikiLeaks.

Assange was detained in the United Kingdom based on the U.S. charges for the last 62 months, while he contested extradition. As part of the plea agreement, Assange was transported to the U.S. District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands to enter his felony guilty plea and be sentenced on the morning of June 26 (Saipan local time) in a U.S. courtroom, with the venue reflecting Assange’s opposition to traveling to the continental United States to enter his guilty plea and the proximity of this federal U.S. District Court to Assange’s country of citizenship, Australia, to which he will return. At today’s proceeding, Assange admitted to his role in the conspiracy to violate the Espionage Act and received a court-imposed 62-month time-served sentence, reflecting the time he served in U.K. prison as a result of the U.S. charges. Following the imposition of sentence, he will depart the United States for his native Australia. Pursuant to the plea agreement, Assange is prohibited from returning to the United States without permission.

Beginning in late 2009, Assange and WikiLeaks actively solicited United States classified information, including by publishing a list of “Most Wanted Leaks” that sought, among other things, bulk classified documents. As set forth in the public charging documents, Assange actively solicited and recruited people who had access, authorized or otherwise, to classified information and were willing to provide that information to him and WikiLeaks—and also solicited hackers who could obtain unauthorized access to classified information through computer network intrusions. Assange publicly encouraged his prospective recruits to obtain the information he desired by any means necessary, including hacking and theft, and to send that information to Assange at WikiLeaks.

Between January 2010 and May 2010, in the course of the conspiracy with Assange, Manning used U.S. government computer systems to download hundreds of thousands of documents and reports, many of them classified at the SECRET level and relating to the national defense, which signified that unauthorized disclosure could cause serious damage to United States national security. In total, Manning downloaded four nearly complete U.S. government databases that contained, among other things, approximately 90,000 Afghanistan war-related significant activity reports, 400,000 Iraq war-related significant activity reports, 800 Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF GTMO) detainee assessment briefs, and 250,000 U.S. Department of State cables. Manning also downloaded files regarding rules of engagement in the Iraq war, most of which were classified at the SECRET level and which delineated the circumstances and limitations under which United States forces would initiate or conduct combat engagement with other forces.

After downloading digital reams of classified documents and files, Manning electronically sent them to Assange to be publicly posted on WikiLeaks’s website. During Manning’s bulk exfiltration and passage of classified materials to WikiLeaks, Manning and Assange communicated regularly via online platforms about Manning’s progress and what classified information Assange wanted. For example, after sending the classified JTF GTMO detainee assessment briefs to Assange, Manning told Assange “thats [sic] all I really have got left.” To encourage Manning to continue to take classified documents from the United States and provide them to Assange and WikiLeaks without authorization, Assange replied, “curious eyes never run dry in my experience.”

In or about 2010 and 2011, Assange publicly disclosed via the WikiLeaks website hundreds of thousands of documents that Manning had taken without authorization and given to him, including approximately 75,000 Afghanistan war-related significant activity reports, classified up to the Secret level; 400,000 Iraq war-related significant activity reports, classified up to the Secret level; 800 JTF GTMO detainee assessment briefs, classified up to the Secret level; and over 100,000 State Department cables, some of which were classified up to the Secret level.

Unlike news organizations that published redacted versions of some of the classified documents that Assange obtained from Manning and then shared with those organizations, Assange and WikiLeaks disclosed many of the raw classified documents without removing any personally identifying information. Specifically, in many instances, the classified documents Manning unlawfully provided to Assange were later released publicly by Assange and WikiLeaks in a raw or unredacted form that placed individuals who had assisted the U.S. government at great personal risk. Assange’s decision to reveal the names of human sources illegally shared with him by Manning created a grave and imminent risk to human life. For example, the State Department cables that WikiLeaks disseminated included information from journalists, religious leaders, human rights advocates, and political dissidents who had chosen to provide information to the United States in confidence at significant risk to their own safety. By publicly releasing these documents without redacting the names of human sources or other identifying information, Assange subjected these individuals to serious harm and arbitrary detention. Assange even acknowledged in public statements that he knew that publicly disclosing unredacted classified documents containing the names and other identifying information of people who had shared information with the U.S. government in confidence could put those people at risk of harm.

The FBI Washington Field Office investigated the case. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance in securing Assange’s arrest and in litigating Assange’s extradition. The United Kingdom’s Crown Prosecution Service, National Extradition Unit (and its predecessor in the Metropolitan Police Service), and Central Authority also provided significant assistance to the extradition proceedings over the past five years. Logistical support was also provided by the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency’s Joint International Crime Centre, U.K. law enforcement agencies, and U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section (CES), U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands (NMI), and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia handled the case. U.S. Attorney Shawn N. Anderson for the District of Guam and NMI, CES Deputy Chief Matthew McKenzie, and National Security Cyber Section Trial Attorney Jacques Singer-Emery represented the United States in the NMI proceedings. CES Trial Attorneys Nicholas Hunter and Adam Small, and Trial Attorney Rachel Yasser and Legal Advisor/International Affairs Coordinator Amanda June Chadwick of the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs also provided substantial assistance.

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melanopsin
Member
20 days ago

Figured they’d spin it that way. Here’s the other angle:
Julian Assange agrees to plea deal with Biden administration that will allow him to avoid imprisonment in US
https://www.cnn.com/2024/06/24/politics/julian-assange-plea-deal-biden-administration/index.html

Last edited 20 days ago
Jeffersonian
Guest
Jeffersonian
20 days ago
Reply to  melanopsin

What bothers me is the utter failure of the military to discharge Chelsea Manning when all the signs of acute psychological problems were well documented.

Ben Round
Guest
Ben Round
20 days ago
Reply to  Jeffersonian

“Acute psychological problems”. You mean that she was discovering herself as transgender? She, like (most/all) trans people go thorough some challenging struggles as they become themselves, for sure. Most of that is caused by the rigid societies that live in. Yet that in itself is not reason to discharge a military member.

Canyon oak
Guest
Canyon oak
20 days ago
Reply to  Ben Round

You can’t become yourself by attempting to co-opt a clearly defined opposing identity that by observable definition excludes you.
Never will imposters be the real deal and most of us know it.
Observe nature, before culture, perhaps..
Bending gender is fine, but we struggle to bend mammalian reality to fraudulent cultural trends.
You can try, but the back bite hopefully will breed out the
bad identity mutations.
Non-mammalian identities being the most fraudulent example currently

Last edited 20 days ago
Ben Round
Guest
Ben Round
19 days ago
Reply to  Canyon oak

I’ve witnessed it. People transition and then their lives change, much for the better! How can YOU argue with that?

Big Rick
Guest
Big Rick
20 days ago
Reply to  Ben Round

Damn bro sounds like you have acute psychological problems as well if you consider that shit as normality

D'Tucker Jebs
Member
19 days ago
Reply to  Big Rick

It is normal.
And, how someone feels about themselves is none of my damn business.

adfh
Guest
adfh
19 days ago
Reply to  Ben Round

Transgenderism not being recognized as a mental illness will come to be seen as a massive blunder that resulted in the mutilation and deaths of thousands.

Ben Round
Guest
Ben Round
19 days ago
Reply to  adfh

Not if it is self-chosen. There are no ‘deep and dark forces’ promoting transgenderism. It’s an evolution. Get with the times.

Slink
Guest
Slink
20 days ago

What does this have to do with anything in Humboldt County???

Kym Kemp
Admin
20 days ago
Reply to  Slink

Not much. But we had an opening in crime and got a press release. And I thought my readers would be interested.

farfromputin
Member
farfromputin
20 days ago
Reply to  Kym Kemp

No worries, it’s relevant.

Jeffersonian
Guest
Jeffersonian
20 days ago
Reply to  Kym Kemp

Thanks for posting this. It’s important news.

Ben Round
Guest
Ben Round
20 days ago
Reply to  Kym Kemp

Thanks Kym. This story is important to the local community of readers / activists. Maybe even to others. I trust and appreciate that you throw in these ‘stories from outside the ET’ as you see may be of interest.

Mr. Clark
Member
Mr. Clark
20 days ago
Reply to  Kym Kemp

so the Bidens sent this out to everyone…..

Mr. Clark
Member
Mr. Clark
20 days ago
Reply to  Mr. Clark

Free publicity for biden 2024.

D'Tucker Jebs
Member
19 days ago
Reply to  Mr. Clark

Nope

Stevo
Member
Stevo
20 days ago
Reply to  Slink

Freedom of speech for everyone. Biden is working overtime to prevent “misinformation” even as people in journalism use government accessible data.
Did you know for one example, that VP K. Harris lied about her record on prosecution of major environmental polluters?

Did you know that?

farfromputin
Member
farfromputin
20 days ago

Didn’t Trump share top secret documents with his friends at his Mar A Lago home?

Stevo
Member
Stevo
20 days ago
Reply to  farfromputin

Didn’t Hillary run state files on herbown server in violation of federal records laws? Didn’t Biden get off scott free on his classified records violations because he’s somewhat of a discombobulated old man?

Fly On The Wall
Member
20 days ago
Reply to  Stevo

Yes, but they got away with it because our government is corrupt.

adfh
Guest
adfh
19 days ago
Reply to  Stevo

She had her team knowingly and intentionally destroy emails that should have been public record, and got away with it. Trump is still worse though.

Fly On The Wall
Member
19 days ago
Reply to  adfh

How is Trump worse?

Country Joe
Member
20 days ago
Reply to  farfromputin

Just a malicious rumor.

Wasn’t me…it was the dog
Guest
Wasn’t me…it was the dog
20 days ago

Regardless of what anyone thinks about Assange, I personally think he is a hero, the precedent set by this case is very troubling for journalism. The charges are broad, this could give the government a precedent to be able to imprison journalists for ten years with a felony for distributing info the government doesn’t want in the public eye. I wonder what Kym’s take on that is

Last edited 20 days ago
Stevo
Member
Stevo
20 days ago

Just try and search Wikileaks now for the Podesta emails from 2016. This is not all that it seems.

Zipline
Guest
Zipline
20 days ago

This was a totally political persecution. He didn’t release any information harmful to our “security”. He released some very embarrassing personal information about our civilian and military “leaders”. Showed them for the privileged jerks they are.

Truth Be Told
Member
Truth Be Told
20 days ago
Reply to  Zipline

He endangered confidential sources by releasing un-redacted files that identified numerous journalists, religious figures, human rights activists and political dissidents.

That wasn’t necessary but it probably favored your goal of population reduction.

Michael M
Guest
Michael M
20 days ago
Reply to  Truth Be Told

Actually a Guardian reporter (Luke Harding IIRC) used the cryptography key for the repository WikiLeaks setup to share the info with the other organizations they were working with such as the NYT as the title of a chapter in his book on WikiLeaks and his readers were not as dumb as he thought.
Why was he never prosecuted?

Truth Be Told
Member
Truth Be Told
20 days ago
Reply to  Michael M

Your point?

Are you trying to say Wikileaks didn’t release the info, it was some reporter from the Guardian?

Michael M
Guest
Michael M
20 days ago
Reply to  Truth Be Told

Yes, the reporter unredacted it.

adfh
Guest
adfh
19 days ago
Reply to  Truth Be Told

Julian Assange and WikiLeaks: Assange and WikiLeaks initially released redacted versions of U.S. diplomatic cables to protect sensitive sources. WikiLeaks partnered with several media outlets, including The Guardian, to publish these redacted documents.

The Guardian and Luke Harding: Journalists at The Guardian, including David Leigh and Luke Harding, were given access to the full, unredacted cache of diplomatic cables. In their book, “WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy,” Leigh and Harding included a password to the encrypted file containing the unredacted cables. This password was supposed to be temporary but had not been changed.

Subsequent Events: Due to a series of events, including the publication of the book with the password and the later discovery of the file on the internet, the unredacted cables eventually became accessible to the public. WikiLeaks, after realizing that the unredacted cables were compromised, decided to release them in full to ensure that everyone had access to the same information rather than letting it leak out piecemeal or selectively.

Zipline
Guest
Zipline
20 days ago
Reply to  Truth Be Told

I love individual humans, can’t stand humanity.

adfh
Guest
adfh
19 days ago
Reply to  Truth Be Told

As of now, there are no publicly confirmed cases where the release of information by WikiLeaks has been directly linked to the deaths of journalists, religious figures, human rights activists, or political dissidents.

Currently there is no technology, or combined application of technologies that could allow our current population to live without continuing dire consequences for the environment. Nor is there any technology on the horizon that could allow this.

Human population is now around 7.9 billion and expected to reach 12.5 billion before eventually stabilizing, possibly around where it is today.

How could anyone not support efforts to reduce population?

Entering a world of pain
Guest
Entering a world of pain
20 days ago

Ironic that the Justice Dept. complaint states Assange put journalists lives in danger, when his most famous leak was “collateral murder” which involved a video showing an American helicopter gunning down 11 people including two Reuters journalists in Baghdad

Stevo
Member
Stevo
20 days ago

And, to this day the DOD has never released who gave the orders for the flight to that area that day.

Farce
Guest
Farce
20 days ago

it was a great moment when he released that footage. Our own journalists were being escorted around away from the real action and they so meekly went along with what was basically propaganda. Assange showed us what was really happening with OUR tax dollars and it was disgusting…

byrd
Guest
byrd
20 days ago

I used to talk with him from time to time back in the day, he was all about free software.

I am grateful he can finally rejoin his family.

Stevo
Member
Stevo
20 days ago
Reply to  byrd

Glad that the psycho Hillary and the CIA never droned him.

Shel
Guest
Shel
20 days ago
Reply to  Stevo

There’s still time for a drone or other ‘options’. Unfortunately, they won”t let this go… evil people never do.

Stevo
Member
Stevo
20 days ago

Assange also said that the Espionage Act and the First Amendment were incompatible as he plead.

justsayin
Guest
justsayin
20 days ago

And George Orwell smirks and giggles. Your federal gu’ment, that YOU allow is sooooo corrupt and politicized that it is unsavable. Turn your TV off!

Permanently on Monitoring
Guest
Permanently on Monitoring
20 days ago
Reply to  justsayin

It’s a Fascist Theocracy, with a Mobbed-Up Felon in charge, and separation of church and state up in flames (like we ever had that anyway)…

Three worst things about humans:

Greed
War
Religion

I still think Trump will get so mad, he will stomp his foot and explode, like, Trumplestiltskin!

Let us pray…

Redwood Dan
Guest
Redwood Dan
20 days ago

Wasn’t Bradley or Chelsea Manning detained and released during a raid on an illegal weed farm in Mendocino a few years ago?

Entering a world of pain
Guest
Entering a world of pain
20 days ago
Reply to  Redwood Dan

Just wondering what your point is?

Redwood Dan
Guest
Redwood Dan
20 days ago

Wasn’t trying to make one. Just asking a question. But after doing some looking, it was Bowe Bergdahl I was thinking of, not Manning.

Wizard of OddsD
Member
20 days ago

Watch him mysteriously end up dead in the next few months

Jeffersonian
Guest
Jeffersonian
20 days ago

Another political prisoner of our opaque government livid about being exposed for their coverups. He has suffered too much.

Last edited 20 days ago
tru matters
Guest
tru matters
20 days ago

What about Edward Snowden?

Another one exposing the US Government

The Real Guest
Guest
The Real Guest
20 days ago
Reply to  tru matters

What about Joe Biden?

Another one inappropriately exposing US Government Top Secret Classified Information…

The Real Guest
Guest
The Real Guest
19 days ago
Reply to  The Real Guest

Hmmm

I wonder who the mystery down voter might be…???

🤷‍♂️

Big Rick
Guest
Big Rick
20 days ago

Holy shit this is basically admitting that everything on WikiLeaks is actually real

adfh
Guest
adfh
19 days ago
Reply to  Big Rick

not sure about “everything” but I believe so. Here are some of the highlights;

Iraq War Logs (2010): Exposed unreported civilian deaths, including incidents where U.S. forces killed civilians, and detailed detainee abuse by Iraqi forces, casting a harsh light on the conduct of the war and treatment of prisoners.

Afghan War Diary (2010): Revealed the extent of civilian casualties, and the secret role of Pakistan and Iran in supporting the Taliban, along with details of a covert U.S. unit tasked with assassinating insurgent leaders.

Guantanamo Files (2011): Disclosed assessments and evidence against detainees, uncovering the use of unreliable intelligence and confessions obtained under duress, raising questions about the justice and legitimacy of their detention.

U.S. Diplomatic Cables (Cablegate, 2010): Unveiled candid opinions of world leaders, such as descriptions of Vladimir Putin as an “alpha dog” and Angela Merkel as “risk-averse,” along with secret U.S. intelligence-gathering on the United Nations and details of covert operations.

Sony Email Leaks (2015): Exposed internal communications revealing Hollywood gossip, executive insults about movie stars, racial jokes about President Obama, and behind-the-scenes tensions, causing significant embarrassment and resignations.

DNC Email Leak (2016): Showed DNC officials undermining Bernie Sanders’ campaign, fueling allegations of a rigged Democratic primary and leading to the resignation of top DNC officials, which exacerbated intra-party tensions.

Podesta Emails (2016): Revealed the Clinton campaign’s cozy relationship with Wall Street, including excerpts from Hillary Clinton’s paid speeches to financial firms, and internal campaign strategies, which damaged her public image.

Vault 7 (2017): Disclosed CIA’s hacking tools capable of turning smartphones, computers, and smart TVs into surveillance devices, raising alarms about the extent of government surveillance and the security vulnerabilities in everyday electronics.

For me the DNC sabotaging Bernie is the most offensive.

Undermining Sanders’ Campaign: The emails showed that DNC officials discussed ways to highlight potential weaknesses of Bernie Sanders, including his religious beliefs. For example, one email suggested asking questions about Sanders’ faith in an attempt to portray him as less electable.

Media Manipulation: The leaks included emails where DNC officials appeared to coordinate with the media to favor Hillary Clinton. This included giving preferential treatment to Clinton’s campaign in media coverage and debates.

Debate Scheduling: The scheduling of debates at times believed to attract fewer viewers was also seen as a way to minimize Sanders’ exposure.

Elizabeth Warren’s Withdrawal: While there were no specific emails in the DNC leak directly discussing Elizabeth Warren’s withdrawal timing to harm Sanders’ campaign, there have been speculations and theories about strategic moves within the Democratic Party. Warren dropped out of the race after Super Tuesday in March 2020, during the subsequent primary cycle, not the 2016 cycle, and endorsed Joe Biden, which some saw as consolidating the moderate vote against Sanders.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz should have been jailed, but we have weak laws in this area.

melanopsin
Member
19 days ago

X (aka Twitter) post by Stella Assage

https://x.com/Stella_Assange/status/1805573781303308326

“URGENT: Emergency appeal for donations to cover massive USD 520,000 debt for jet. Julian’s travel to freedom comes at a massive cost: Julian will owe USD 520,000 which he is obligated to pay back to the Australian government for charter Flight VJ199. He was not permitted to fly commercial airlines or routes to Saipan and onward to Australia. Any contribution big or small is much appreciated. #AssangeJet Donations: https://crowdfunder.co.uk/p/free-julian-assange?utm_source=freeassange.org&utm_medium=widget&utm_content=pledge&utm_campaign=Free%20Julian%20Assange
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/GQ6vxcuXoAAoPJH?format=jpg&name=small
Last edited5:08 AM · Jun 25, 2024
·
4.7M Views”

Emphasis is mine! Also:

Julian Assange Received $500K Bitcoin Donation From Anonymous Bitcoin Whale
https://www.coindesk.com/business/2024/06/27/julian-assange-received-500k-bitcoin-donation-from-anonymous-bitcoin-whale/

Last edited 19 days ago
melanopsin
Member
15 days ago

Previously on RHBB:

Letter Writer Dissects the Case of Julian Assange
https://kymkemp.com/2022/12/08/letter-writer-dissects-the-case-of-julian-assange/

Currently:

Julian Assange is finally free – but should not have been prosecuted in the first placeKenneth Roth

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/article/2024/jul/01/julian-assange-wikileaks-prosecution

Julian Assange’s lengthy detention has finally ended, but the danger that his prosecution poses to the rights of journalists remains. As is widely known, the US government’s pursuit of Assange under the Espionage Act threatens to criminalize common journalistic practices. Sadly, Assange’s guilty plea and release from custody have done nothing to ease that threat.

That Assange was indicted under the Espionage Act, a US law designed to punish spies and traitors, should not be considered the normal course of business. Barack Obama’s justice department never charged Assange because it couldn’t distinguish what he had done from ordinary journalism. The espionage charges were filed by the justice department of Donald Trump. Joe Biden could have reverted to the Obama position and withdrawn the charges but never did.

The 18-count indictment filed under Trump accused Assange of having solicited secret US government information and encouraged Chelsea Manning to provide it. Manning committed a crime when she delivered that information because she was a government employee who had pledged to safeguard confidential information on pain of punishment. But Assange’s alleged solicitation of that information, and the steps he was said to have taken to ensure that it could be transferred anonymously, are common procedure for many journalists who report on national security issues. If these practices were to be criminalized, our ability to monitor government conduct would be seriously compromised.

To make matters worse, someone accused under the Espionage Act is not allowed to argue to a jury that disclosures were made in the public interest. The unauthorized disclosure of secret information deemed prejudicial to national security is sufficient for conviction regardless of motive.

Last edited 15 days ago