A new report from Yahoo! News alleges some shocking claims about how the U.S. government under former Donald J. Trump handled WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The journalist and activist was not well liked over his habit of making public oft-damning documents. And in 2017, two years before his arrest, and after a particularly egregious leak, both the CIA and high-up Trump officials allegedly plotted ways to off him — claims Trump himself has denied.
According to the report, the CIA toyed with ways to kidnap Assange, who spent over six years holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London after being granted asylum. What prompted them to take things next level? WikiLeaks’ publication of sensitive CIA tools, known as “Vault 7,” which was called “the largest data loss in CIA history.”
Some talked of kidnapping. Others went further:
Some senior officials inside the CIA and the Trump administration even discussed killing Assange, going so far as to request “sketches” or “options” for how to assassinate him. Discussions over kidnapping or killing Assange occurred “at the highest levels” of the Trump administration, said a former senior counterintelligence official. “There seemed to be no boundaries.”
That didn’t happen. But they had other methods, including, as per Yahoo!, “extensive spying on WikiLeaks associates, sowing discord among the group’s members, and stealing their electronic devices.
Among those out for blood was former CIA director Mike Pompeo, who was among those “seeing red” over the Vault 7 leaks. But Trump claims he was never on board.
— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) September 26, 2021
“It’s totally false, it never happened,” Trump told Yahoo! News. “In fact, I think he’s been treated very badly.”
Assange had sought asylum at the Ecuador embassy after an international arrest warrant was put out for him over claims of sexual misconduct. He wound up spending nearly seven years there before being arrested in April 2019. He currently resides in a London prison as courts decide whether to extradite him over his role in the Chelsea Manning affair.
(Via Yahoo! News)