WIKILEAKS FOUNDER’S RUSSIA LINK
The ant-secrecy organization WikiLeaks got a taste of its own medicine this week after The Associated Press reported on a large leak of internal documents from the group and its founder, Julian Assange.
One of the more interesting disclosures among the documents, some of which are posted online, is a 2010 letter from Mr. Assange to the Russian Consulate in London, along with a copy of his Australian passport, applying for a visa to travel to Russia.
“I, Julian Assange, hereby grant full authority to my friend, Israel Shamir, to both drop off and collect my passport, in order to get a visa, at the Russian Consulate, London,” the letter states. It was signed “yours faithfully” and highlights WikiLeaks ties to Moscow.
The letter appears to be part of a plan by Mr. Assange to flee to Russia. The letter was written shortly after Mr. Assange, who is holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, was charged with sexual assault in Sweden and shortly before the major disclosure of thousands of secret U.S. documents provide to WikiLeaks by U.S. Pvt. Bradley Manning.
A 2016 U.S. intelligence assessment concluded that Russia meddled in the presidential campaign that year.
“We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence … used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com to release U.S. victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks,” the assessment stated.
WikiLeaks said on Twitter that “Mr. Assange did not apply for such a visa at any time or author the document.” The group said the documents were fabricated. Then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo, now President Trump’s secretary of state, said WikiLeaks was an example of a nonstate hostile intelligence agency.
The leak of a large cache of internal WikiLeaks documents has all the trappings of a retaliatory cyberattack.
But a source in the know said there was no U.S.