The U.S. Department of Justice is prepared to seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange according to a report.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said at a news conference Thursday that Assange’s arrest is a “priority.”“We are going to step up our effort and already are stepping up our efforts on all leaks,” he said. “This is a matter that’s gone beyond anything I’m aware of. We have professionals that have been in the security business of the United States for many years that are shocked by the number of leaks and some of them are quite serious. So yes, it is a priority. We’ve already begun to step up our efforts and whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail.”
The Obama administration was reluctant to go after Julian Assange as they felt he may be protected by the First Amendment despite the fact that Assange is not a U.S. citizen. The Trump administration neither believes that WikiLeaks is a valid media organization nor does Assange enjoy protection under the U.S. constitution.
The WikiLeaks founder has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for five years and unless Ecuador decides to evict him or honor extradition, an arrest is not possible.
Whether back channel negotiations are ongoing with the newly elected president of Ecuador is unknown, but President Moreno had previously pledged to continue to shield Assange while warning him not to meddle in U.S. affairs.
A request for comment from the Justice Department was not returned by the time this article was published.