Assange actively tries to undermine various deep state alliances by releasing classified material via his website. He is also no fan of Hillary Clinton, having released private documents related to the Democratic National Committee and her campaign.
Assange, who exposed Bush administration misdeeds in the run-up to the Iraq war, and later Obama administration misdeeds in the Hillary Clinton email scandal, has gone from hero-to-zero among Democrats, with the inverse opposite sentiment among Republicans as well over the past decade.
He studied physics and mathematics at the University of Melbourne. He wrote Strobe, the first free and open-source port scanner, and contributed to the book Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier.
Prior to WikiLeaks, Assange was involved with an organization of computer hackers and was arrested for his involvement with the group in 1991. After the arrest, he became an independent programmer. Most of the software he produced was designed to keep whistleblowers and dissidents anonymous.
Assange has a son in Australia.
Activism and exhile
As of November 18, 2010, there is a warrant out for his arrest in Sweden. Assange was previously investigated for rape, but the charges were ultimately dropped. However, there is an international warrant for Assange, as he is wanted for questioning in Sweden in relation to a rape investigation. On June 19, 2012, Ricardo Patiño, the Ecuadorian foreign minister, announced that Assange had applied for political asylum and that the Ecuadorian government was analyzing his request. At that time, Assange was in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. On August 16, Patiño announced that the Ecuadorian government was granting Assange political asylum. It is not clear how, if ever, Assange will be able to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy grounds.
His anarchistic hope is that faith in government will decline and individuals will take on more personal responsibilities for their lives. It is not clear how exposing classified documents of democratic countries will encourage people to become more responsible for their lives. He also implied in a piece for The Guardian newspaper that his sympathies lay towards Latin American liberation struggles, and that he grew up believing in Marxism-Leninism. Assange is an admirer of Rand Paul.
In January 2017 Assange's legal team approached Adam Waldman to see if the new Trump administration would negotiate with the WikiLeaks founder, holed up in Ecuador's London embassy. They hoped Waldman, a former Clinton Justice Department official, might navigate the U.S. law enforcement bureaucracy and find the right people to engage. Waldman met three times with Assange during January and February 2017 in London. Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, whom Waldman represents, visited Addange nine times over 2017.
Waldman contacted Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr. They met in Washington DC on February 3, 3017. Within 24 hours of the Ohr meeting, Waldman contacted Deputy Assistant Attorney General in charge of counterintelligence David Laufman of the National Security Division.
Assange made clear through that he would never compromise his sources, or stop publishing information, but was willing to consider concessions, like redactions or "risk mitigation." This was viewed as a positive sign by the US intelligence community, if not as a means of neutralizing or stopping WikiLeaks, but at least controlling it.
A few days after the negotiations opened in mid-February, Waldman reached out to Democratic Sen. Mark Warner; Waldman wanted to see if the Senate Intelligence Committee wanted any contact with Assange. Assange was offering to prove that Russia was not WikiLeaks’ source of the DNC emails.
Sen. Mark Warner engaged with Adam Waldman over encrypted text messages, Warner then reached out to FBI Director Jimmy the Weasel Comey. Although the response to Assange's offer to help was positive among Department of Justice officials, Warner relayed Comey's response to Waldman: "stand down."
Waldman could not believe that Warner and Comey were sending a different message than the Department of Justice, so he went back to David Laufman, who assured him the negotiations were still on. Laufman's response when he heard Waldman was told to "stand down" was, "That's B.S. You are not standing down and neither am I."
"The constructive, principled discussions with DOJ that occurred over nearly two months were complicated by the confusing 'stand down' message," Waldman said. The double dealing sowed distrust in Assange's camp.
On April 7, 2017, Assange released Vault 7 with the specifics of some of the CIA malware used for cyber attacks. It had immediate impact: A furious U.S. government backed out of the negotiations, and CIA Director Mike Pompeo slammed WikiLeaks as a "hostile intelligence service."
Vault 7 included disclosure of a tool called “Marble Framework,” which enabled the CIA to hack into computers, disguise who hacked in, and falsely attribute the hack to someone else by leaving so-called tell-tale signs — like Cyrillic, for example. The CIA documents also showed that the “Marble” tool had been employed in 2016.
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), which includes among members two former Technical Directors of the National Security Agency, has repeatedly called attention to its conclusion that the DNC emails were leaked — not “hacked” by Russia or anyone else.Journalist Ray McGovern noted the episode reveals
"a cynical decision to put U.S. intelligence agents and highly sophisticated cybertools at risk, rather than allow Assange to at least attempt to prove that Russia was not behind the DNC leak. The greater risk to Warner and Comey apparently would have been if Assange provided evidence that Russia played no role in the 2016 leaks of DNC documents."
- "Julian Assange pide asilo político en embajada de Ecuador en Londres", El Comercio. Retrieved on September 17, 2012. (es)
- Hough, Andrew. "Julian Assange: WikiLeaks founder seeks political asylum from Ecuador", Daily Telegraph, 19 June 2012.
- Declaración del Gobierno de la República del Ecuador sobre la solicitud de asilo de Julian Assange (Spanish)
- Sarah Palin: hunt WikiLeaks founder like al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders. Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved on September 17, 2012.
- US embassy cables culprit should be executed, says Mike Huckabee, The Guardian, December 1, 2010, Haroon Sidiqqui. "Mike Huckabee said, 'Whoever in our government leaked that information is guilty of treason, and I think anything less than execution is too kind a penalty'"