The arrest of Julian Assange in London drew a mixture of reactions from U.S. lawmakers early Thursday – especially after the justice department charged the WikiLeaks mastermind with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.
Assange, 47, is being charged with working with whistleblower army pvt. Chelsea Manning, a former U.S. intelligence analyst, in 2010, to crack a password stored in a U.S. Defense Department computer to obtain classified Pentagon documents. Manning, who had access to the computers in connection with her duties as an intelligence analyst, was using computers to download classified records to transfer to WikiLeaks. Cracking the password would have allowed Manning to log in to the computers under a username that did not belong to her, "the DOJ said in a suicide released Thursday.
WHO IS JULIAN ASSANGE? WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT THE WIKILEAKS FOUNDER
Assange, an Australian native, was escorted out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he had been staying since 201
Assange has faced renewed scrutiny in the U.S. after WikiLeaks received emails that were stolen from Hillary Clinton and other Democratic groups during the 2016 election. Politicians reacted to the news of Assange's arrest and subsequent charges Thursday – many applauding the move.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, RS.C., said he was glad to see the "wheels of justice" turning in relation to the WikiLeaks leader.
"In my book, he has never been a hero. His actions – releasing classified information – Graham wrote on Twitter.
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., Said Assange's arrest was "good news for freedom-loving people."
WIKILEAKS FOUNDER JULIAN ASSANGE ARRESTED AFTER ECUADOR WITHDRAWS ASYLUM
"Julian Assange has long been a wicked tool of Vladimir Putin and the Russian intelligence services, "Sasse alleged in a tweet. "He deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison."
Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., Commended police on the arrest.
"I commend British police for the arrest of Julian Assange after nearly 7 years of self-imposed exile inside the Ecuadorian Embassy. I call for the immediate extradition of Assange to the US where he will answer for aiding and abetting a foreign power to undermine US democracy & laws, "he tweeted.
Florida Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, an Ecuadorian-born American lawmaker, said she encouraged the nation to pursue Assange.
"Every chance I've had to speak with Ecuador's government, I pushed them to stop protecting Assange, and I'm glad they've finally done that, "Mucarsel-Powell tweeted.
Rep. Steve Cohen, a member of the Democratic Party serving in Tennessee, questioned if President Trump would forgive Assange.
"Might be a pardon of yours #Assange. He loved #WikiLeaks," cohen claimed before citing a quote, "There is honor among the thieves "
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., Also Blasted Assange.
" Whatever Julian Assange's intentions were for WikiLeaks, what he's become is a direct participant in Russian efforts to weaken the West and undermine American security. I hope British courts will quickly transfer him to U.S. Custody so he can finally get the justice he deserves, "Warner said.
This is a developing story.