Julian Assange charged with publishing classified information

The charges were approved by a grand jury and drastically increase the legal fight that lies ahead for Assange.

The Justice Department has charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with receiving and publishing classified information.

The indictment, which includes a total of 18 felony charges, alleges that Assange "engaged in real-time discussions regarding Manning's transmission of classified records to Assange" and "actively encouraged" Manning to hack into a military computer network.

WikiLeaks has tweeted in response to the charges, saying: "This is madness".

Legal experts at the time said that indictment could be a placeholder in lieu of more extensive charges that could be pursued at a later date.

Higher energy prices push inflation back above 2pc target
The increase sent the average household bill up more than 14pc compared to a year ago, while gas bills rose by 7.1pc. The measure of price rises had stood at 1.9% in both March and February, up from a two-year low of 1.8% in January .

Under President Obama, the Justice Department reportedly declined to charge Assange under the Espionage Act.

The superseding indictment alleges that Assange's actions "risked serious harm to United States national security to the benefit of our adversaries and put the unredacted named human sources at a grave and imminent risk of serious physical harm and/or arbitrary detention".

The case presents immediate questions about media freedom, including whether the Justice Department is charging Assange for actions - such as soliciting and publishing classified information - that journalists take as a matter of course. He is now fighting extradition from the U.K.to the United States, where he had already been charged with conspiring to hack a Pentagon computer in 2010. It was also interpreted as the government attempting to dodge potential First Amendment issues by not addressing Assange's self-proclaimed status as a publisher.

After spending years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Assange was evicted and arrested on a USA extradition warrant in April related to one charge regarding conspiracy to hack. It has not and never has been the department's policy to target them for reporting. "But Julian Assange is no journalist".

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