We all remember Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy in April where he has lived since 2012.
With the cries from national security experts and some former officials to indict Assange under the Espionage Act, the decision not to indict him by the Justice Department came as a surprise. However, some legal experts have said the charge would likely not hold up in court.
This decision also means Assange will not face punishment for publishing one of the CIA’s most potent arsenals of digital code used to hack devices, dubbed Vault 7. This leak, one of the most devastating in CIA history, essentially rendered those tools useless for the CIA, and gave foreign spies and rogue hackers access to them.
With the Justice Department facing a ticking clock to extradite Assange to the United States from the United Kingdom, it makes one wonder the reason for this decision.
Extradition laws require the United States to bring any additional charges against Assange within 60 days of the first indictment filed in March. This charge accused Assange of helping former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to hack into military computers.
So, why did prosecutors decide not to file charges? According to an official familiar with the deliberations over whether to charge Assange, prosecutors are worried about the sensitivity of the Vault 7 materials. It appears their concern of broaching such a classified subject in court risks exposing even more CIA secrets, legal experts have said.
The CIA has never officially confirmed the authenticity of the leaked documents, even though analysts widely believe them to be authentic.
According to Mary McCord, the acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the Justice Department until 2017, “There is no question that there are leak cases that can’t be prosecuted against the leaker or the leakee because the information is so sensitive that, for your proof at trial, you would have to confirm it is authentic. So the irony, often, is that the higher the classification of the leaked material, the harder it is to prosecute.”
Because of that, the Justice Department plans to go after Assange on the one count of allegedly assisting Manning and the 17-count Espionage Act indictment. There are no plans to bring any additional indictments prior to his extradition.
While the Manning leak indictment was an expected move, the Espionage Act charges startled the legal community as a potential precedent-setting action. Traditionally, the law was used to punish government officials who revealed classified information, not the journalists or foreign nationals who published the information. Freedom of the Press activists have warned this case could criminalize everyday journalistic behavior, such as soliciting sensitive information from government sources.
Federal officials continue to insist they have a strong case. Their argument is Assange is not a journalist and he had intentionally published the names of confidential sources in war zones over the objections of national security officials.
A U.S. national security official told POLITICO, “There is a comfort level within the national security establishment of where the charges ended up.”
The documents exposed describe how the CIA’s secretive Center for Cyber Intelligence developed malware, viruses, and weaponized “zero-day” exploits, or flaws in technology such as smartphones and Internet-connected TVs that are not yet known to the manufacturer.
Legally, the CIA can use these cyber weapons ONLY against foreign targets. It is not to be used against U.S. citizens. However, WikiLeaks stated at the time it was given the documents by a former U.S. government hacker or contractor that was concerned if the CIA’s hacking capabilities had exceeded its mandated powers.
With evidence coming out of how in 2009, then President Obama, James Clapper, and John Brennan developed and illegal surveillance operation called The Hammer, it comes as NO surprise to this writer, this is more than likely the cyber weapon the CIA was using that caused such concern.
While many people consider Julian Assange dangerous, others are thankful for the corruption he has exposed. Will the government cut a deal with Mr. Assange? Will they use the WikiLeaks files to uncover the massive corruption in the DC Swamp, and make those guilty to pay for their crimes against the American people? I sure hope so.
As the Democrats and their Deep State accomplices scramble for cover, it will be interesting to see if Julian Assange and his WikiLeaks files will be their undoing. If the Justice Department has plans to question Assange, we can only hope they keep him safe. It seems that anyone who is about to testify against the Democrats is prone to an unexpected and convenient death.
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