U.S. prosecutors announced charges on Thursday against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, accusing him of conspiring with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to gain access to a government computer as part of one of the largest compromises of classified information in U.S. history, ONAreports citing Reuters.
Assange, arrested by British police in London and carried out of Ecuador’s embassy, faces up to five years in prison on the American charge, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement. His arrest paved the way for his possible extradition to the United States.
Assange’s indictment arose from a long-running criminal investigation dating back to former President Barack Obama’s administration.
It was triggered in part by the 2010 publication by WikiLeaks of hundreds of thousands of U.S. military reports about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and American diplomatic communications, a disclosure that embarrassed the United States and caused strained relations with allies.
The Justice Department said Assange, 47, was arrested under an extradition treaty between the United States and Britain and was charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.