Intel Dem: Assange is 'a direct participant in Russian efforts to undermine the West'

Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerDems reject Barr's offer to view Mueller report with fewer redactions GOP senators divided on Trump trade pushback Hillicon Valley: Trump unveils initiatives to boost 5G | What to know about the Assange case | Pelosi warns tech of 'new era' in regulation | Dem eyes online hate speech bill MORE (D-Va.) blasted Julian Assange on Thursday after the WikiLeaks founder was arrested in London, casting him as an ally in Russia’s efforts to influence politics in the U.S. and Europe.

“Julian Assange has long professed high ideals and moral superiority. Unfortunately, whatever his intentions when he started WikiLeaks, what he’s really become is a direct participant in Russian efforts to undermine the West and a dedicated accomplice in efforts to undermine American security," Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement.

"It is my hope that the British courts will quickly transfer him to U.S. custody so he can finally get the justice he deserves,” Warner said, while praising the Ecuadorian government for withdrawing Assange's asylum.

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Assange had been staying at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012, but was arrested by British authorities on Thursday after the embassy withdrew his asylum, effectively expelling him from the diplomatic facility.

British authorities said they were making the arrest on behalf of a U.S. extradition request.

The Department of Justice has charged Assange with alleged conspiracy to hack into computers in connection with the organizations’ release of classified information obtained by former U.S. Army private and intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. The charge carries a five-year maximum sentence.

Manning’s document dump contained approximately 90,000 Afghanistan War–related reports, 400,000 Iraq War–related reports, 800 Guantanamo Bay detainee assessment briefs and 250,000 State Department cables between January and May 2010, many of which were labeled classified, according to Assange’s indictment.

U.S. law enforcement officials have long sought legal action against Assange, whose organization is notorious for publishing troves of classified government documents.

Intelligence officials and lawmakers in the U.S. have also warned about the group's actions during the 2016 presidential election, when WikiLeaks published thousands of emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThorny part of obstruction of justice is proving intent, that's a job for Congress Nadler: I don't understand why Mueller didn't charge Donald Trump Jr., others in Trump Tower meeting Kellyanne Conway: Mueller didn't need to use the word 'exoneration' in report MORE's then-campaign chairman.

Authorities have said that Russian hackers were responsible for the stolen emails.