Infuriated over the WikiLeaks’ publication of “Vault 7”, a set of CIA hacking tools that brought embarrassment for the Intelligence agency, senior CIA officials discussed abducting and even assassinating WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, during the Trump administration in 2017.
A former Trump national security official said that Mike Pompeo, the then CIA director, and the CIA leadership “were completely detached from reality because they were so embarrassed about Vault 7. They were seeing blood," Yahoo News reported.
A former senior counterterrorist official said that some senior CIA officials and the Trump administration made requests for “sketches” or “options” for killing Assange. He added, “There seemed to be no boundaries.”
Pompeo had referred to WikiLeaks as a “non-state hostile intelligence service”, which implied that the CIA could deal with it as an enemy espionage organisation and take a more aggressive approach in dealing with the pro-transparency group.
Assange’s US lawyer, Barry Pollack said, “As an American citizen, I find it absolutely outrageous that our government would be contemplating kidnapping or assassinating somebody without any judicial process simply because he had published truthful information.”
Ecuador had been sheltering Assange in its embassy since 2012 in order to avoid extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations. However, he was evicted in 2019, after which he was arrested and is now in a prison in London, fighting against extradition to the US.
Moreover, US prosecutors have accused him under the Espionage Act of seeking to assist Chelsea Manning in hacking a military computer network to obtain classified documents and publishing them in violation of the Espionage Act.
Human rights groups severely criticised the use of the Espionage Act, pointing out that it opened the door for its use against investigative journalists in general.
(With inputs from Yahoo News)
. Read more on World by The Quint.Punjab Congress Chief Navjot Singh Sidhu ResignsCIA Officials and Trump Admin Discussed Assassinating Julian Assange: Report . Read more on World by The Quint.