Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg on Tuesday dared U.S. prosecutors to come after him like they have Julian Assange by revealing in a BBC News interview that the WikiLeaks publisher sent him a backup of leaked materials from former military analyst Chelsea Manning.
“Let me tell you a secret. I had possession of all the Chelsea Manning information before it came out in the press,” Ellsberg said to BBC‘s Stephen Sackur in the on-camera interview. “I’ve never said that publicly.”
Assange had sent him the materials—which include evidence of U.S. war crimes—in case “they caught him and they got everything,” the 91-year-old explained. “He could rely on me to find some way to get it out.”
Australian-born Assange is currently detained in London and fighting in British and European courts against his extradition to the United States, where he could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted under Espionage Act charges.
To @POTUS and @TheJusticeDept: Stop the extradition of Assange. I am as indictable as he is on the exact same charges. I will plead “not guilty” on grounds of your blatantly unconstitutional use of the Espionage Act. Let’s take this to the Supreme Court. https://t.co/odm2gd6Ci1
— Daniel Ellsberg (@DanielEllsberg) December 6, 2022