Midway through releasing a series of damaging disclosures about U.S. presidential contender Hillary Clinton, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says his hosts at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London abruptly cut him off from the internet.
The news adds another layer of intrigue to a campaign which has been roiled by dramatic leaks and allegations of state-sponsored subversion.
“We can confirm Ecuador cut off Assange’s internet access Saturday, 5pm GMT, shortly after publication of Clinton’s Goldman Sachs (speeches),” the group said in a message posted to Twitter late Monday. In follow-up messages posted Tuesday, the group claimed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had personally intervened to ask Ecuador to stop Assange from publishing documents about Clinton. Citing unidentified “multiple US sources,” WikiLeaks said the request was made on the sidelines of negotiations which took place last month in Colombia.
The State Department pushed back on the claims.
“While our concerns about Wikileaks are longstanding, any suggestion that Secretary Kerry or the State Department were involved in shutting down Wikileaks is false,” U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said in an email. “Reports that Secretary Kerry had conversations with Ecuadorian officials about this are simply untrue. Period.”
Assange has been holed up at the modest embassy suite at No. 3 Hans Crescent for more than four years after skipping bail to avoid extradition to Sweden over sex crimes allegations.
WikiLeaks said unspecified “contingency plans” were in place and the site and its Twitter feed appeared to be working as usual. On Tuesday it released another tranche of emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, suggesting that, for now at least, the group’s ability to publish has not been compromised.
The disclosure was the 11th installation in a series of leaks which have captured the workings of Clinton’s inner circle and included excerpts of her well-compensated speeches to investment bank…