The Obama Administation’s efforts to find some sort of crime they can actually charge WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with will undoubtedly continue, but it is unlikely that those charges will include “conspiracy,” despite previous comments to the contrary.
That is because NBC News has been told by US military officials that the investigation into Pfc. Bradley Manning found absolutely no evidence that he ever had contact with Assange, let alone that he and Assange directly conspired with one another.
US officials had hoped to convince Manning that he could bargain down to a lighter sentence for his leaking of classified material while an active member of the Army, a violation of a US Military Code of Justice, in return for his help in tying Assange to some sort of crime. Officials claimed to have found some evidence that Manning downloaded the documents, but nothing related to Assange.
Lacking any evidence to support such an allegation, officials will likely have to invent some other charge to lay against Assange, who is currently in Britain pending extradition. Assange has promised to oppose any effort that would end with his being sent to the US, fearing that he would be executed as a “terrorist” by the Obama Administration even though they don’t appear to have evidence to charge him even with a minor offense.