New documents reveal that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange received in-person deliveries, potentially of hacked materials related to the 2016 US election, during a series of suspicious meetings at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
The documents build on the possibility, raised by special counsel Robert Mueller in his report on Russian meddling, that couriers brought hacked files to Assange at the embassy.
The surveillance reports also describe how Assange turned the embassy into a command center and orchestrated a series of damaging disclosures that rocked the 2016 presidential campaign in the United States.
Despite being confined to the embassy while seeking safe passage to Ecuador, Assange met with Russians and world-class hackers at critical moments, frequently for hours at a time. He also acquired powerful new computing and network hardware to facilitate data transfers just weeks before WikiLeaks received hacked materials from Russian operatives.
These stunning details come from hundreds of surveillance reports compiled for the Ecuadorian government by UC Global, a private Spanish security company, and obtained by CNN. They chronicle Assange’s movements and provide an unprecedented window into his life at the embassy. They also add a new dimension to the Mueller report, which cataloged how WikiLeaks helped the Russians undermine the US election.
The security logs noted that Assange personally managed some of the releases “directly from the embassy” where he lived for nearly seven years. After the election, the private security company prepared an assessment of Assange’s allegiances. That report, which included open-source information, concluded there was “no doubt that there is evidence” that Assange had ties to Russian intelligence agencies.
Assange, a native of Australia, has always denied working for the Kremlin and has insisted that the source of the leaks “is not the Russian government and it is not a state party.” He also said he would have published damaging information about then-candidate Donald Trump if he had received it.
The US announced criminal charges against Assange earlier this year for his role in the 2010 leaks of secret diplomatic cables and Pentagon war logs, which WikiLeaks got from then-US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. British police yanked Assange from the embassy in April. He is now serving a one-year prison term in London for skipping bail in the UK, while aggressively fighting extradition to the US.
WikiLeaks did not respond to requests for comment. Assange’s lawyers declined to comment. Assange maintains his innocence and WikiLeaks says the charges are “the worst attack on press freedom in our lifetime.”
Read more at CNN