PARIS - The anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks claimed Monday that the internet link of its fugitive founder, Julian Assange, has been “intentionally severed by a state party.”
Writing on Twitter, WikiLeaks later said it had “activated appropriate contingency plans” for Assange, who has been holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy since 2012 to avoid arrest. Sweden is attempting to extradite the 45-year-old Australian national over an alleged sex offense.
Few other details were released, and a WikiLeaks statement did not name the nation it suspects of cutting the connection. But a spokesperson, in comments to the French news agency, linked the severed connection to “our ongoing publications revealing the associations and positions of U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.”
The Clinton campaign reported in July that the emails of the Democratic National Committee had been hacked by Russia, and WikiLeaks later began publishing the contents of the hacked documents. Moscow has denied involvement.
The most recent batch of hacked documents included a 2013 Clinton speech to a conference of investment bankers showing her warning China about North Korea missile program.
“You either control them, or we’re going to have to defend against them,” she said she told the Chinese government, urging it to curb Kim Jong-un’s nuclear ambitions.
WikiLeaks also published emails purportedly linked to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, who said last week an FBI probe of that breach is part of a wider investigation into an alleged Russian hacking campaign ahead of November 8 elections.
Podesta also claimed that Roger Stone, a key adviser to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, had advance knowledge of the leaks. That accusation follows predictions from Stone in August that WikiLeaks would attack Clinton and Podesta in the coming weeks.
The latest WikiLeaks disclosures, focusing exclusively on the Clinton campaign, have prompted some analysts to speculate that Russia has teamed up with WikiLeaks in an attempt to subvert Clinton’s presidential bid.
Despite its recent Clinton focus, WikiLeaks also has rankled the leaders of several foreign governments, key among them Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In July, the Turkish leader ordered a nationwide blockade of WikiLeaks’ website, after the group released 300,000 emails hacked from Erdogan’s ruling party.
WikiLeaks touted those emails as describing Turkey’s political power structure. The release came as the Erdogan government moved to crush a domestic political uprising widely seen as an attempted military coup.