U.S. authorities reportedly prepared charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and intend to arrest him after his organization leaked sensitive U.S. intelligence, according to officials.
WikiLeaks worked with former U.S. intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak government files in 2010 and recently released classified information from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Assange found refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in Britain and, until recently, received protection from U.S. charges under the First Amendment, according to CNN on Thursday.
Prosecutors said they found a way to bypass constitutional protection, however, following an unprecedented statement by CIA Director Mike Pompeo declaring that WikiLeaks' previous actions were not protected by the First Amendment.
President Barack Obama's administration investigated Assange but was reluctant to charge him given that others, including newspapers like The New York Times, published the leaked intelligence from Manning.
News of Assange's charges came on the same day Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that arresting Assange was a "priority" and that the government was "going to step up [their] efforts "on all leaks."