As Julian Assange is being processed and (presumably) preparing to fight his extradition to the U.S., it’s worth recalling what role Wikileaks played in the Hillary Clinton email scandal back in 2016, especially in light of the charges now facing Assange.
Assange is being charged with “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion” for helping Chelsea Manning crack a password on a secure DOD computer connected to the U.S. government’s Secret Internet Protocol Network (SPIRNet).
DOJ statement: “Assange is charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.” pic.twitter.com/aCYK9sSP80
— Sabrina Siddiqui (@SabrinaSiddiqui) April 11, 2019
In a piece at New York Magazine’s Intelligencer, details surrounding Manning’s relationship with Wikileaks — specifically her refusal to testify about the nature of that relationship that landed her back in jail in March — are proffered as a reminder to readers just why the U.S. wants to bring Assange here.
In 2010, WikiLeaks published 250,000 diplomatic cables and classified military documents. The material was passed to WikiLeaks by soldier Chelsea Manning, who served seven years of a 35-year prison term before President Obama commuted her sentence. Manning was jailed last month in Virginia after a judge found her in contempt for refusing to testify before a grand jury that is investigating WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks has also claimed the U.S. is building a case against Assange for his involvement in the publication of Democratic emails hacked by the Russians during the 2016 election. On Twitter, WikiLeaks said Assange was “arrested for extradition to the United States for publishing.”
That last paragraph is what makes this a developing story, however, because Wikileaks played a huge role in revealing just how and why Hillary Clinton’s emails may have gone missing back in 2015.
A congressional subpoena was issued on March 4, 2015 for emails related to Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state and her use of an unsecured server to transmit potentially classified information. A year later, following a Wikileaks dump of information obtained through a hack of the DNC, it was revealed that two days after the 2015 subpoena was issued, Clinton campaign chair John Podesta sent an email to a confidante indicating Hillary needed to dump the emails.
On March 10, 2015, Clinton announced she had deleted 30,000 emails.
“On another matter and not to sound like Lanny [Davis], but we are going to have to dump all those emails so better to do so sooner than later,” Podesta told his confidante Cheryl Mills.
The DNC hack was purported to have been carried out by Russia. Given the Russian collusion investigation that has gripped the nation for the last two years, Julian Assange certainly has information of interest to the U.S. government beyond how he managed to crack a computer password.