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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could soon be facing charges in the U.S., according to CNN.
Citing “U.S. officials familiar with the matter,” CNN reports that U.S. .authorities have prepared charges in a bid to arrest Assange.
During a news conference on Thursday, U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions said that the arrest of Assange is a “priority.”
“We are going to step up our effort and already are stepping up our efforts on all leaks,” Sessions 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.
Assange’s WikiLeaks gained attention for leaks including the posting of files stolen by former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.
While First Amendment concerns have been an impediment in prosecuting Assange, the U.S. government’s view toward the WikiLeaks founder changed when evidence arose that WikiLeaks may have aided former NSA analyst Edward Snowden in disclosing classified documents.
Assange’s lawyer, Barry Pollack, said that he had not heard from the justice department about any charges.
“We’ve had no communication with the Department of Justice and they have not indicated to me that they have brought any charges against Mr. Assange,” said Assange’s lawyer, Barry Pollack. “They’ve been unwilling to have any discussion at all, despite our repeated requests, that they let us know what Mr. Assange’s status is in any pending investigations. There’s no reason why Wikileaks should be treated differently from any other publisher.”