Assange Accused Of Conspiring With Chelsea Manning To Break Into Classified Computers

11 April 2019, 14:49 | Updated: 11 April 2019, 15:04

Assange is now in police custody
Assange is now in police custody. Picture: PA

Charges by the US have been laid out following Assange's arrest inside the Ecuadorian embassy.

Julian Assange was arrested on Thursday by British police inside the embassy of Ecuador and is now facing extradition to the United States.

Mr. Assange skipped bail and sought refuge in the embassy in 2012, however, after seven years his asylum was withdrawn and British police were invited inside to arrest him.

Assange appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court on Thursday afternoon where he pleaded not guilty to a charge that he failed to surrender to custody as required for an extradition order to Sweden.

He was subsequently found guilty of breaching his bail and faces a jail sentence of up to 12 months when he is sentenced at Crown Court.

Police confirmed that Assange was further arrested "on behalf of the United States authorities, at 10:53hrs after his arrival at a central London police station."

A statement from the Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said that the WikiLeaks founder had been arrested in connection with a "federal charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified U.S. government computer."

According to court documents unsealed today, the charge relates to Assange’s alleged role in one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States.

The indictment alleges that Assange engaged in a conspiracy with Chelsea Manning, a former intelligence analyst in the US Army, to assist Manning in cracking a password stored on Department of Defense computers connected to a secret computer network.

The US claims Manning was using the computers to download classified records to transmit to WikiLeaks.

Cracking the password would have allowed Manning to log on to the computers under a username that did not belong to her. Which would have made it more difficult for investigators to determine the source of the illegal disclosures.

Manning was found guilty in July 2013 of 19 charges, including theft and six counts of espionage by a court-martial and sentenced to 35 years' imprisonment.

During an exchange, the District Attorney's office claim that Manning told Assange “after this upload, that’s all I really have got left.” To which Assange replied, “curious eyes never run dry in my experience.”

A statement notes that "actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties."