Today, Yahoo News published a long and deeply-sourced investigation that the CIA, led by Trump appointee Mike Pompeo, repeatedly and seriously considered kidnapping and even assassinating WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The agency engaged in so many shocking and extra-legal actions that the whole report needs to be read in full to be believed.
Yahoo News also reported that intelligence officials, in disturbing disregard for the First Amendment, pushed to have other journalists—including FPF board members Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald—re-categorized as “information brokers” for their award-winning reporting on the Snowden disclosures. Yahoo said that the purpose was to open up “the use of more investigative tools against them, potentially paving the way for their prosecution.”
The following statement can be attributed to Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF) executive director Trevor Timm:
“The CIA is a disgrace. The fact that it contemplated and engaged in so many illegal acts against WikiLeaks, its associates, and even other award-winning journalists is an outright scandal that should be investigated by Congress and the Justice Department. The Biden Administration must drop its charges against Assange immediately. The case already threatens the rights of countless reporters. These new revelations, which involve a shocking disregard of the law, are truly beyond the pale.”
Previously, a coalition of groups focused on civil liberties, human rights and press freedom—including Freedom of the Press Foundation—urged the Biden administration to drop its charges against Assange. The letter to Biden’s Justice Department was signed by the ACLU, Committee to Protect Journalists, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and many more.