Senior officials inside the CIA and the Trump administration considered kidnapping WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2017, even weighing whether or not to assassinate him to prevent him from making an escape.
This information comes from a report published by Yahoo! News, which cited conversations with over 30 former U.S. intelligence and security officials. These conversations revealed that “sketches” and “options” on how to carry out a possible assassination were laid out.
An official who spoke to Yahoo! said that former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wanted “revenge” on Assange because the Trump administration was embarrassed by the “Vault 7” data leak of CIA hacking tools and Democratic emails during the 2016 election campaign.
“There was an inappropriate level of attention to Assange given the embarrassment, not the threat he posed in context,” the official said. “We should never act out of a desire for revenge.”
The operation was floated in response to rumors that Assange was plotting an escape from the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Former President Donald Trump has denied ever considering ordering the assassination of Assange, telling Yahoo! that he believes Assange was treated “very badly.”
“It’s totally false, it never happened,” he told the outlet.
The CIA has declined to comment on the matter.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.