The U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday that it had broadened its 18 charges of conspiracy against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In a statement, the Office of Public Affairs wrote, “Assange and others at WikiLeaks recruited and agreed with hackers to commit computer intrusions to benefit WikiLeaks.” The indictment alleges that Assange recruited well-known hacking group LulzSec, whose leader was cooperating with the FBI, to attack and infiltrate the computer systems of multiple members of NATO to retrieve documents WikiLeaks could then publish. Assange allegedly provided the target list. The allegation comes in addition to the accusation Assange violated the Espionage Act by publishing classified documents provided by former intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning and others furnished by Russian agents. Assange denies collaborating with Russia. The founder is currently in jail in the United Kingdom, where he is being held for extradition. He spent seven years in the London Ecuadorian embassy fighting extradition and becoming the father to two children until Ecuador rejected his request for asylum in April 2019.
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