Secretary of State Antony Blinken has rejected a call by Australia’s top diplomat to end the Biden administration’s efforts to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States to face espionage and hacking charges. Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong made the remarks during a joint press conference with Blinken after talks in Brisbane on Saturday.
Penny Wong: “We have made clear our view that Mr. Assange’s case has dragged on for too long and our desire that it be brought to a conclusion. And we’ve said that publicly, and you would anticipate that that reflects also the position we articulate in private.”
A growing number of Australian elected officials, including Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, have urged the U.S. to drop its case against Assange, who is an Australian citizen. Secretary Blinken responded Saturday, saying Assange was charged with “very serious criminal conduct.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “The actions that he is alleged to have committed risked very serious harm to our national security, to the benefit of our adversaries, and put named human sources at grave risk.”
Australian lawmaker Andrew Wilkie, who is co-chair of the Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group, rejected the claims by Secretary Blinken, calling them “patent nonsense.” He told The Guardian, “Mr. Blinken would be well aware of the inquiries in both the U.S. and Australia which found that the relevant WikiLeaks disclosures did not result in harm to anyone.”