On Monday, WikiLeaks announced that its founder’s internet access had been cut off by a state actor. On Tuesday, the government of Ecuador admitted that it was the state actor.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London since 2012 trying to avoid rape charges in Sweden that he claims are politically motivated and which will lead to his extradition to the U.S. over his previous leaks of sensitive information.
Assange has been rather open about his intention to affect the U.S. election, leaking hacked information only as to the Democratic Party and timing them for maximum impact. Tuesday marked the 11th release emails that have been hacked from Clinton Campaign chair John Podesta which WikiLeaks has been releasing on consecutive days.
The government of Ecuador released a statement on the matter:
“The Government of Ecuador respects the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states. It does not interfere in external electoral processes, nor does it favor any particular candidate.
Accordingly, Ecuador has exercised its sovereign right to temporarily restrict access to some of its private communications network within its Embassy in the United Kingdom.”
The emails are believed to have been hacked by the Russian government or a contractor under its employ and direction. In a highly unusual move, the White House has formally accused the Russian government of the hack and of attempting to meddle in U.S. elections.
While Hillary Clinton continues to increase her lead in the polls, the hacked emails have not been without their impact. The Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly pointed to the content of the emails on the campaign trail as evidence of wrongdoing on the party of Clinton and that she is not fit to serve as president.
Despite cutting off Assange’s internet access, Ecuador will continue to provide him with asylum according to the government’s statement. Washington has promised a proportional response to the hacking.