- The Daily Beast -
The secretive whisteblowing website WikiLeaks said Friday night that its founder, Julian Assange, had hired private criminal defense lawyers to represent the 22-year-old Army intelligence specialist accused of providing WikiLeaks with highly classified combat videos from Iraq and Afghanistan.
But Birgitta Jonsdottir, a parliamentarian in Iceland who acts as a spokeswoman for the website, said in a telephone interview from Reykjavik that the Pentagon had refused this week to allow the lawyers to meet the Army intel analyst, Bradley Manning.
“I haven’t seen it myself,” Jonsdottir said of the new video. But she said she understood it was “horrible” because “there are so many children being massacred.”
Jonsdottir said Assange had hired private lawyers several days ago because of growing alarm that the accused whistleblower is being mistreated by the Defense Department.