WikiLeaks Founder Assange Charged With Publishing Classified Information in New U.S

The charges are contained in an 18-count indictment announced Thursday.

The new indictment alleges that Assange conspired with Manning to steal classified government documents, including State Department cables and classified reports about the Iraq and Afghanistan war efforts.

Assange is in custody in London after being evicted from the Ecuadorian Embassy in April.

The most recent charges claim Assange "risked serious harm" to the United States by unlawfully obtaining and disclosing classified national defence documents.

Those actions include WikiLeaks releasing sensitive information like operatives' names to the public.

WikiLeaks itself is not charged.

Legal experts at the time said that indictment could be a placeholder in lieu of more extensive charges that could be pursued at a later date.

"As one paragraph in the indictment reads: "On August 20, 2010, for instance, WikiLeaks tweeted that it had distributed an encrypted "'insurance" file" to over 100,000 people and referred to the file and the people who downloaded it as "our big guns in defeating prior restraint'". It's still not certain if the United Kingdom will extradite Assange to the US.

The counts that relate to Assange's publishing activity hew closely to this alleged harm to sources.

Julian Assange was charged Thursday in an 18-count superseding indictment for his role in orchestrating the 2010 WikiLeaks disclosures, described by the us government as "one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States".

The allegations regarding the violation of the Espionage Act has raised concerns regarding the real freedom of speech among some journalists and those defending Assange's actions. It was also interpreted as the government attempting to dodge potential First Amendment issues by not addressing Assange's self-proclaimed status as a publisher.

"Julian Assange is no journalist", said Assistant Attorney General John Demers, the Justice Department's top national security official.

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