Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, was arrested Thursday and will face a charge in the U.S. USA Today reports that Assange was arrested in London after the government of Ecuador expelled him from its embassy in that city, bringing an abrupt end to his self-imposed seven-year exile.
He will reportedly be extradited to the U.S. to face a charge that he conspired to hack military computers.
“Police in the United Kingdom dragged Assange from the front door of the embassy Thursday morning,” USA Today reports, adding: “In an indictment revealed Thursday morning, U.S. authorities say Assange conspired with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to steal and publish huge troves of classified documents. Prosecutors said Assange at one point tried to help Manning crack a password to access military computers where the information was stored.”
The report adds: “Over four months in 2010, Manning downloaded hundreds of thousands of secret reports on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as State Department cables and information about detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Manning turned the records over to WikiLeaks, which passed them to journalists and published them on the Internet.”
Prosecutors have called it one of the most extensive leaks of classified secrets in U.S. history.
“Assange is charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion,” USA Today reports. “The charge, delivered by a federal grand jury in March 2018 but kept secret until Thursday, carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.”