Police reportedly surrounded the Ecuadorian embassy in London amid rumors that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is facing imminent arrest.
The WikiLeaks founder has been holed up in the embassy since 2012, seeking asylum there to avoid extradition to Sweden on rape charges, but reports on Friday indicated that police could be prepared to arrest him. The official WikiLeaks Twitter account seemed to fuel much of the rumors with a tweet on Friday that there was an increased police presence outside the embassy.
“A build up of plain clothes ear-piece wearing operatives around the Ecuador embassy in London in the last two days has been sighted by Julian Assange’s lawyers,” the tweet noted. “There are normally 2-4 plainclothes British operatives present. The reason for the increase is not publicly known.”
It was not clear if London police would have authority to arrest Julian Assange if the WikiLeaks founder remained inside the embassy, where he had the protection of Ecuador’s government. There had long been reports that Assange would face arrest if he ever left the embassy, which he has not done in the nearly seven years he has been there.
The report about increased police presence outside the embassy comes a day after NBC News reporter Ken Dilanian reported on Twitter that the U.S. Department of Justice operated a flight from Washington, D.C., to London. The plane actually left from Manassas, Virginia, which Dilanian reported is where FBI teams leave to detain suspects overseas….