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CNN: US will pursue espionage charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange responded to the U.S. announcement that they would be seeking charges against him for espionage. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

U.S. officials will charge WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and seek his arrest, according to sources that spoke to CNN Thursday.

CNN's Jim Schiutto announced it on his social media account, saying, "BREAKING: US authorities have prepared charges to seek the arrest of @WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, US officials tell CNN."

The Justice Department will be pressing espionage charges against Assange, whose WikiLeaks organization has released top secret documents for years. One of their biggest and most controversial revelations came from Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, whose sentence for the theft of state secrets was commuted by former President Obama.

"We are going to step up our effort and already are stepping up our efforts on all leaks," U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions said. "This is a matter that's gone beyond anything I'm aware of. We have professionals that have been in the security business of the United States for many years that are shocked by the number of leaks and some of them are quite serious. So yes, it is a priority. We've already begun to step up our efforts and whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail."

The official account for the WikiLeaks organization responded by simply posted the news from CNN, and a link for donations for their legal defense.

Trump was accused by critics of praising the group that was assessed to be a front for foreign espionage by the U.S. intelligence agency. Before the election, then-candidate Trump at one point looked into television cameras and asked directly for Russian hackers to find and release Hillary Clinton's destroyed emails.

Just recently a report revealed that the CIA and FBI are performing a joint investigation to find the leaker of a trove of documents to Wikileaks. The revelation showed that the U.S. intelligence services had developed tools to spy on people through smartphones, televisions, and computers.

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