The US Department of Justice strengthened its case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Wednesday in an indictment laying out new evidence that he recruited hackers and conspired to commit computer intrusions.
Assange's extradition to the United States is being handled by the Department of Justice's Office of International Affairs and UK authorities, including the Home Office and the Crown Prosecution Service for England and Wales.
In a 37-page superseding indictment dated May 23, 2019, Assange was charged with eighteen counts, including conspiracy to obtain, receive, and disclose national defense information; unauthorized obtaining of national defense information; attempted unauthorized obtaining of national defense information; unauthorized obtaining and receiving of national defense information; unauthorized disclosure of national defense information; and conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.
In addition, the broadened hacking conspiracy continues to allege that Assange conspired with Army Intelligence Analyst Chelsea Manning to crack a password hash to a classified U.S. Department of Defense computer.
Wikileaks is also alleged to have interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election by publishing emails sent and received by Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton while she acted as Secretary of State under Barack Obama. Assange asked this teenager to hack into computers of high ranking officials of this unidentified North Atlantic Treaty Organisation country, including its members of parliament, to get more information including recordings of phone conversations.
"In 2010, Assange gained unauthorized access to a government computer system of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation country", The Department of Justice statement said.
The LulzSec leader was co-operating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation at the time, the department said. However, Sabu had been in June 11 and had started cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assange and Wikileaks are also alleged to have received the emails from Russia's GRU military intelligence service, something the Australian has continued to deny.
What kind of information did Assange want for WikiLeaks? . "With respect to one target, Assange asked the LulzSec leader to look for (and provide to WikiLeaks) mail and documents, databases and pdfs".
The allegations in the new indictment center on conferences, in locations including the Netherlands and Malaysia in 2009, at which prosecutors say he and a WikiLeaks associate sought to recruit hackers who could locate classified information, including material on a "Most Wanted Leaks" list posted on WikiLeaks' website.
As per the indictment, another hacker linked with Anonymous and LulzSec groups was able to steal emails after infiltrating systems of an American intelligence consulting firm.
In 2019, Manning was incarcerated again for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating Assange, according to the New York Times.
Assange was arrested previous year after being evicted from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he had sought refuge to avoid being sent to Sweden over allegations of rape and sexual assault, and is at the center of an extradition tussle over whether he should be sent to the United States.