Russia

Assange Met With Russians, Hackers in Ecuador’s Embassy

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

I think it would be fair to say that this mostly confirms what we already knew, but intelligence reports prepared for the Ecuadorian government detail numerous, hours-long meetings with Russians and other hackers at Ecuador's embassy in London where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange lived for most of the last decade.

According to CNN, which has seen the reports, the private intelligence firm contracted by the Ecuadorian government to monitor Assange concluded that there's "no doubt" he had connections to Russian intelligence.

Despite being confined to the embassy while seeking safe passage to Ecuador, Assange met with Russians and world-class hackers at critical moments, frequently for hours at a time. He also acquired powerful new computing and network hardware to facilitate data transfers just weeks before WikiLeaks received hacked materials from Russian operatives. [...]

The security logs noted that Assange personally managed some of the releases "directly from the embassy" where he lived for nearly seven years. After the election, the private security company prepared an assessment of Assange's allegiances. That report, which included open-source information, concluded there was "no doubt that there is evidence" that Assange had ties to Russian intelligence agencies.

The intelligence reports detail at least 75 visitors who met with Assange at the embassy in June of 2016 just weeks before WikiLeaks would publish the documents that were apparently hand-delivered to Assange at the embassy.

As for how Assange was able to keep doing this for so long while he was being closely watched -- the reports detail the behavior of Ecuador's previous administration and that of former Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño who allegedly threatened embassy staff and even Ecuador's ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Assange had help or at least protection from a government that evidently wanted to stick it to the United States or, at the very least, curry favor with Russia.

Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa claimed he was standing up for freedom of the press when he chose to harbor Assange, but anyone who still believes this had anything to do with freedom of the press is a sucker of the highest order. Julian Assange isn't a journalist and hackers from Russian military intelligence are not Deep Throat.

  • Draxiar

    “Wikileaks, I love Wikileaks…” ~ trump

  • muselet

    Julian Assange was always a curious choice for a hero of the free press. At best, he’s a lucky provocateur who was sent the “Collateral Murder” footage (fair play to Assange, publishing that video was a righteous act, even if later evidence indicates it was published for exactly the wrong reason). At worst, he’s a bottom feeder. That he met repeatedly with Russian intelligence and hackers is as surprising as finding that water is wet.

    I still say the US shouldn’t extradite Assange: let the UK have him for violating the terms of his bail, then Sweden can have a whack at him for sexual assault if prosecutors want him. If the US so much as comments on Assange, that would be his fondest dream come true: he’d become even more of a super-duper-double-plus-ultra martyr to his fans. Nobody should want that.

    –alopecia

    • I almost always agree with you but not on this. Let him be a martyr to the Glenn Greenwalds’ of the world. They were going to sabotage the liberal cause in the U.S. anyway. Assange needs to be punished for his crimes. I just wish it wasn’t under the Trumpov administration.

      • muselet

        I wasn’t thinking of Glenn Greenwald, I was thinking of internet pests who share Julian Assange’s anti-US worldview.

        And there is a surprising number of people who should know better—Charlie Pierce and editorial boards across the country, to give two examples—who see threatening to prosecute Assange as a direct attack on the First Amendment (although, to be honest, that’s not an unreasonable concern in the Age of Trump: this administration would gleefully take a run at the New York Times or Washington Post next).

        As much as I dislike Assange, I just think it would be better not to help him raise his profile.

        –alopecia

  • Badgerite

    “Julian Assange isn’t a journalist and and hackers from Russian military intelligence are not Deep Throat. ”
    Precisely. Julian Assange is a malignant fraud.

  • mnpollio

    Agreed. Get ready for Glenn Greenwald to start spitting nails and preach about the martyrdom of Assange. And I cannot wait to hear the character reference given by his most fervent supporter, the legendary actress Dame Pamela Anderson Lee.

    • Aynwrong

      When those people talk about Russia they sound like climate change denialists.

  • gescove

    “…anyone who still believes this had anything to do with freedom of the press is a sucker of the highest order. Julian Assange isn’t a journalist and hackers from Russian military intelligence are not Deep Throat.” Precisely. Thank you.