The United States pressured Ecuador to cut off WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s internet access in the London embassy in which Assange has resided for the last four years, according to a report Wednesday from NBC.
Several U.S officials told NBC that Ecuador had been infomred they should not be allowing Assange to help out the Russian government. While WikiLeaks maintains that it is not at all connected with Russian intelligence agencies, the U.S has said that Russia is behind hacks of Democratic officials in an attempt to undermine the U.S election.
In a statement about their removal of Assange’s internet access Saturday, Ecuador said, “The Ecuador government respects the principle of non-intervention in other countries’ affairs, it does not meddle in election processes underway, nor does it support any candidate specially.”
An unnamed senior U.S. intelligence official who told NBC about the pressuring of Ecuador said, “The general view is he is a willing participant in the Russian scheme but not an active plotter in it. They just realized they could use him.”
On Tuesday, WikiLeaks said sources had told them that John Kerry personally urged Ecuador to stop publishing documents related to Hillary Clinton in September. State Department spokesman John Kirby said in response, “While our concerns about WikiLeaks are longstanding, any suggestion that Secretary (John) Kerry or the State Department were involved in shutting down WikiLeaks is false.”
WikiLeaks has continued to publish emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta since Assange lost internet access.