Washington: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sought to recruit hackers at conferences in Europe and Asia who could provide his anti-secrecy website with classified information, and conspired with members of hacking organisations, according to a new Justice Department indictment announced on Wednesday.
The superseding indictment does not contain additional charges beyond the 18 counts the Justice Department unsealed last year. But prosecutors say it underscores Assange's efforts to procure and release classified information, allegations that form the basis of criminal charges he already faces.
Beyond recruiting hackers at conferences, the indictment accuses Assange of conspiring with members of hacking groups known as LulzSec and Anonymous. He also worked with a 17-year-old hacker who gave him information stolen from a bank and directed the teenager to steal additional material, including audio recordings of high-ranking government officials, prosecutors say.
Assange's lawyer, Barry Pollack, said in a statement that the government's relentless pursuit of Julian Assange poses a grave threat to journalists everywhere and to the public's right to know.