Federal Prosecutors to Build WikiLeaks Conspiracy Case

By Cindy Waxer December 16, 2010

Conspiracy could be one of the key charges used to prosecute WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange. According to a New York Times report, federal prosecutors are searching for clues that Assange conspired with U.S. Army Intelligence Analyst, Private Bradley Manning, who allegedly leaked the classified government documents.

The New York Times article said that U.S. Justice Department officials are currently gathering evidence to determine whether Assange helped Manning extract the confidential documents from a government computer system. If successful, Assange could face conspiracy charges.

According to a recent Associated Press report, a British judge jailed Assange, “ordering the leader of secret-spilling website behind bars as his organization's finances came under increasing pressure.” The report said that “Assange showed no reaction as Judge Howard Riddle denied him bail in an extradition case that could see him sent to Sweden to face allegations of rape, molestation and unlawful coercion.”

In late November, WikiLeaks published 251,287 leaked United States embassy cables, the largest set of confidential documents ever to be released into the public domain. The cables, which date from 1966 up until the end of February this year, contain confidential communications between 274 embassies in countries throughout the world and the State Department in Washington DC. 15,652 of the cables are classified Secret.

Since Assange’s arrest, so-called hacktivists have been launching attacks on MasterCard, Visa, Swedish prosecutors, a Swiss bank, and other entities that have come down hard on Assange. Members of the cyber-vigilante group “Operation Payback” claim responsibility for the technological glitches brought down upon MasterCard, which severed ties with WikiLeaks earlier this month. Visa’s website also became inaccessible.

In the meantime, Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyhete reported that several key figures behind WikiLeaks have resigned and are planning to launch a rival service called Openleaks. According to the source, these partners left the document-leaking nonprofit to protest against WikiLeaks and its controversial founder.

Edited by Jaclyn Allard

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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