NBC News reports: Quiet pressure from the U.S. government played a role in Ecuador’s decision to block WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from using the internet at Ecuador’s London embassy, U.S. officials told NBC News.
“It was a bit of an eviction notice,” said a senior intelligence official.
Ecuador’s government said Tuesday it had partly restricted internet access for Assange, the founder of anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, who has lived in the South American country’s London embassy for more than four years. A source familiar with the situation says the Ecuadoran government has been frustrated with Assange and his presence at the embassy in London for months and has been considering how best to proceed.
The action came after U.S. officials conveyed their conclusion that Assange is a willing participant in a Russian intelligence operation to undermine the U.S. presidential election, NBC News has learned. U.S. intelligence officials believe Assange knows he is getting the information from Russian intelligence, though they do not believe he is involved in helping plan the hacking, officials told NBC.
“The general view is he is a willing participant in the Russian scheme but not an active plotter in it. They just realized they could use him,” said a senior intelligence official. [Continue reading…]