The US Central Intelligence Agency had secret plans to abduct or kill WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as then-spymaster Mike Pompeo was seeking revenge over hacking of the agency’s data.
The revelation came in Yahoo News report, citing the publication of hacked data by Wikileaks in 2016.
The classified government documents, known as “Vault 7” was considered the “largest data loss in CIA history.”
According to the report, the initiative spurred “heated debate among Trump administration officials over the legality and practicality of such an operation.”
“The conversations were part of an unprecedented CIA campaign directed against WikiLeaks and its founder,” it read. The agency’s multipronged plans also included extensive spying on WikiLeaks associates, sowing discord among the group’s members, and stealing their electronic devices.”
Assange was arrested in London two years ago after he was expelled from the Ecuadorian Embassy — where he had taken refuge for seven years — due to pressure from Washington.
Assange used WikiLeaks to publish secret documents online, including classified military and diplomatic files in 2010 about US bombing campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq that proved highly embarrassing to the US government.
In January, a lower court judge rejected an American request to send Assange to the US to face spying charges over WikiLeaks’ publication of secret documents a decade ago.