US denies asking Ecuador to cut off Internet to WikiLeaks

US denies asking Ecuador to cut off Internet to WikiLeaks
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The State Department is emphatically denying that it asked the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to disconnect Julian Assange’s internet connection to prevent more leaks of information about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonYoung Turks founder says Democrats should avoid repeat of 2016 and pick a progressive Young Turks founder says Democrats should avoid repeat of 2016 and pick a progressive Trump highlights polls that showed Clinton beating him by double digits MORE

“While our concerns about WikiLeaks are longstanding, any suggestion that Secretary [John] Kerry of the State Department were involved in shutting down WikiLeaks is false. Reports that Secretary Kerry had conversations with Ecuadorian officials about this are simply untrue. Period,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said.

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Earlier Tuesday, WikiLeaks tweeted, “Multiple US sources tell us John KerryJohn Forbes Kerry'Landslide' for Biden? A look at 40 years of inaccurate presidential polls Trump campaign considering making a play for blue state Oregon: report Trump campaign considering making a play for blue state Oregon: report MORE asked Ecuador to stop Assange from publishing Clinton docs during FARC peace negotiations,” referring to the Marxist rebel group in Colombia.

“The John Kerry private meeting with Ecuador was made on the sidelines of the negotiations which took place pricipally [sic] on Sep 26 in Colombia,” WikiLeaks tweeted.

FARC signed a historic peace deal with the Colombian government on Sept. 26, which Colombian voters narrowly rejected in a referendum vote that has left the future of the peace process uncertain. Kerry was involved in the two-year negotiations over the deal. 

Assange's internet was disconnected on Saturday, according to WikiLeaks. The anti-secrecy platform has been publishing daily batches of emails stolen from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta's email account. It has continued to do so even after Assange's claim of losing Internet access. 

While Ecuador is aligned with the left-wing wave that dominated South American politics in the 2000s, Colombia is the United States's closest ally in the region.

Ecuador is reaffirming its decision to provide protection to the WikiLeaks founder, who has lived in the embassy in London since 2012.

“Faced with speculation of the last hours, the government of Ecuador reaffirms the validity of granted asylum to Julian Assange four years ago,” the government said in a short statement on Twitter. “We reaffirm that the protection of the Ecuadorian state will continue while the circumstances that led to the granting of the asylum remain.”

Assange is avoiding a rape charge in Sweden that he claims is political and will lead to his extradition to the U.S. over previous leaks.

The U.S. has not issued an indictment against Assange, despite widespread outrage after WikiLeaks published thousands of diplomatic cables leaked by former Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning.

The Ecuadorian Embassy did not address Assange’s access to the internet.