CIA officials during the Trump administration discussed the possibility of kidnapping and even assassinating WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to an investigation published on Yahoo News.
According to the investigation, the discussions around Assange took place in 2017, after he fled and found refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy. The head of the agency at the time, Mike Pompeo And other senior officials were outraged at the publication on the WikiLeaks site about what was called “Safe 7” – a series of documents detailing the activities and capabilities of the United States Central Intelligence Agency to conduct electronic surveillance and cyber warfare.
“Pompeo and the CIA leadership were very embarrassed by the publication of ‘Safe 7,'” a former National Security official in the Trump administration noted, adding, “They wanted blood.” A number of senior officials in the agency and the administration went so far as to seek opportunities to assassinate Asnaj. “They were borderless,” said a former senior anti.terrorism official.
It further states that during Assange’s stay at the Ecuadorian embassy, senior officials in the South American country acted to grant the status of diplomat to Asnaj as part of the plan to transfer him to Moscow. Following this, the CIA prepared, among other things, for a shootout with officials in the Kremlin on the streets of London, to hit the Russian diplomat’s car and then to kidnap Assange, firing on a plane on his way to Moscow. “We thought he would try to escape from the embassy while hiding in a laundry cart. We had all sorts of reasons to believe he was going to leave, prepared for action like in the movies,” said a former senior government official.
The United States has also begun deploying undercover agents around the Ecuadorian embassy to block the possibility of an escape to Russia.
At the same time, White House officials have warned Trump that such actions could lead to an international incident and even worse. As the controversy surrounding the site intensified, so did the part of the U.S. administration that objected to the organization’s actions. “We feared it would weaken the United States,” officials said.
Assange’s lawyer, Barry Polak, told Yahoo News that “as an American citizen it is outrageous to think that our government would think of kidnapping or murdering a person without any judicial process and only because he had real information in his hands. My hope is that the courts in the UK will make the decision not to extradite him to the US following this investigation. The CIA declined to comment.
The Australian journalist and internet activist, also known as the founder, spokesman and editor.in.chief of the WikiLeaks website, distributed classified documents about US involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as published leaks from the telegrams of American diplomats.
The American intelligence community accused Assange in an unclassified report in January 2017 with “high security” that he collaborated with the Russian government in publishing the stolen emails as part of the Russian intervention in the election.
In June 2012, Assange was detained at the Ecuadorian embassy in the United Kingdom. About two months later, British government officials threatened to break into the embassy compound to seize him, following which Ecuador announced that it was granting him political asylum. The granting of asylum prevented British police from arresting Assange while he was at the embassy compound.
In April 2019, after seven years in a shelter at the Ecuadorian embassy in London and following US political activity, his immunity was lifted, and Assange was arrested by British police and sentenced to fifty days in prison for violating the conditions of bail from the Swedish justice system.