A number of US administration officials and high-ranking Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officials discussed in 2017 the possibility of the kidnapping and even murder of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. This was reported on Sunday by the Yahoo News portal, citing unnamed former officials and persons involved in counterintelligence, Trend reports citing TASS.
The CIA’s plan to kidnap Assange “sparked a heated debate” in the administration of then-US President Donald Trump over the legality and practicality of such an operation. “Some senior administration and CIA officials have considered [возможность] Julian Assange’s murder, asked for options on how to do this. Discussions about kidnapping or murder took place at the highest level in the administration, “the portal of one former secret service representative quotes.
Such internal plans were part of a campaign against WikiLeaks. The intelligence agency also intended to expand its surveillance of the organization, sow discord among its members, and steal their electronic devices.
This increased scrutiny from the intelligence services was caused by the continued publication of WikiLeaks of a series of CIA materials dubbed Vault 7. Vault 7 is the largest series of leaked documents about programs developed to remotely control users’ computers and monitor their information. It includes nearly 10,000 documents and files stored on an isolated internal network of a cyber intelligence center based at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
At the moment, founder Julian Assange is in London’s Belmarsh prison, where he has been held since April 2019 after the Ecuadorian embassy in the British capital denied a journalist asylum, which was provided to him for seven years. In January, the Westminster Magistrates’ Court refused to extradite Assange to the United States, where 18 criminal charges were brought against him, but at the same time did not release the journalist on bail pending an appeal by the American prosecutor’s office. On the aggregate of the charges brought against, the founder of WikiLeaks faces up to 175 years in prison.