CIA Reportedly Considered Assassination, Kidnapping of Julian Assange
The Central Intelligence Agency considered plots to either kidnap or assassinate Australian journalist Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks in 2017, according to new reporting from Yahoo News published on Sunday.
Wikileaks’ publication of information related to CIA hacking tools set off a renewed antipathy against the journalist within the intelligence agency. CIA personnel went so far as to ask for “sketches” or “options” for a possible assassination plot targeting Assange. The Wikileaks founder resided in the UK’s Ecuadorian Embassy at the time as a means to evade arrest by British authorities.
Around the same time, CIA personnel were monitoring video surveillance footage of Assange associates and Assange himself, seeking means to disrupt Wikileaks by sowing internal discord within the organization.
Then-Trump administration CIA director Mike Pompeo was bent on revenge against Assange, siding with the US Deep State in an attempt to silence Assange’s journalism. The United States continues to seek extradition of Assange after the United Kingdom arrested Assange on supposed violation of bail conditions. One British judge has already denied an extradition request, citing human rights concerns surrounding the US federal prison system.
The CIA’s cavalier plans targeting Assange were ultimately shot down by Trump White House lawyers. Some CIA personnel concerned with the legality of kidnapping and assassination plots also brought the matter to the attention of members of Congress. The Department of Justice also worried outlandish plots to kidnap or assassinate Assange would ruin attempts to prosecute him for alleged involvement in plots to release classified information.
Assange is most known for exposing internal Democratic Party communications that revealed the party’s 2016 presidential primary was rigged against Bernie Sanders in favor of Hillary Clinton. Assange remains imprisoned at Belmarsh Prison in England on bail offenses, with the United States continuing to seek his extradition and prosecution under the Biden administration.
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