Julian Assange charged in conspiracy to hack Pentagon computers with Chelsea Manning

Julian Assange.
(Image credit: GM Stock Films/ iStock)

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was charged Thursday by the U.S. Department of Justice after being arrested by police at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

The case concerns "one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States," the Justice Department alleged in a press release. He faces up to five years in prison on a charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.

At issue is an alleged incident from March 2010 when Assange, along with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, "engaged in conspiracy" to unlock classified information stored on Department of Defense computers, the DOJ release details. Assange "assist[ed] Manning in cracking a password stored on U.S. Department of Defense computers" and "actively encourag[ed]" her to transfer confidential information to WikiLeaks, the allegations continue.

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Manning was previously sentenced to 35 years in prison for sending the documents to WikiLeaks, but former President Barack Obama commuted her sentence on his way out of the White House. She has since been jailed again after refusing to testify about WikiLeaks, but has reportedly been released from solitary confinement.

Read the full set of charges on the Department of Justice website, or see CNN's footage of a shockingly bearded and bald Assange being arrested here.

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Kathryn Krawczyk

Kathryn is a graduate of Syracuse University, with degrees in magazine journalism and information technology, along with hours to earn another degree after working at SU's independent paper The Daily Orange. She's currently recovering from a horse addiction while living in New York City, and likes to share her extremely dry sense of humor on Twitter.