Interpol Closes In On WikiLeaks Founder

Julian Assange, who could face espionage charges in the U.S., is also wanted for sex crimes allegedly committed in Sweden.



International law enforcement authorities are on the hunt for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after Interpol issued a warrant for his detainment on sex crimes.

Assange, 39, is facing accusations of rape and sexual harassment brought by two women in Sweden.

The warrant was issued just days after WikiLeaks disclosed classified U.S. diplomatic documents to several major newspapers around the world, including The New York Times, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, and The Guardian. Administration officials have said they're mulling a range of actions against Assange, including the possibility of bringing espionage charges against him.

The leaked documents revealed serious concerns within the U.S. diplomatic community about the resolve and trustworthiness of several key allies, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, in the war on terror.

They also disclosed Saudi Arabia's wish for a U.S. military strike against Iran, and painted unflattering pictures of Western leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Interpol officials said they issued the warrant, or "Red Notice", at the request of Swedish authorities.

"All Interpol National Central Bureaus have also been advised to ensure that their border control agencies are made aware of Assange's Red Notice status, which is a request for any country to identify or locate an individual with a view to their provisional arrest and extradition," Interpol said in a statement.

Assange is believed to be currently residing in the UK, and some British newspapers reported Thursday that Scotland Yard was aware of his whereabouts and was about to move in on the WikiLeaks founder.

The Obama administration on Monday ordered all federal agencies that deal with sensitive information to review and enhance their internal security programs in an effort to staunch the flow of unauthorized documents to WikiLeaks and other rogue Web sites.

Among other things, the administration is ordering agency heads to develop stricter criteria for determining which federal employees are given access to secured computer systems and networks that store classified data.

 

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