CNN: WikiLeaks' Julian Assange got 'new computing & network hardware,' maybe hacked 2016 election data, in weird Ecuador embassy meetings

CNN reports that the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, personally received deliveries, potentially including hacked materials related to the 2016 U.S. elections, during a series of odd meetings at Ecuador's Embassy in London.

Marshall Cohen, Kay Guerrero and Arturo Torres, for CNN say their report is "based on documents obtained exclusively by CNN."

"The documents build on the possibility, raised by special counsel Robert Mueller in his report on Russian meddling, that couriers brought hacked files to Assange at the embassy."

Although Assange was physically confined to the Ecuadorian embassy while he attempted to obtain secure passage to Ecuador, Assange still managed to have meetings with Russians, "world-class hackers," and other shady characters at "critical moments, frequently for hours at a time," according to the embassy visitor logs.

"He also acquired powerful new computing and network hardware to facilitate data transfers just weeks before WikiLeaks received hacked materials from Russian operatives," reports CNN.

Excerpt from the CNN report:

These stunning details come from hundreds of surveillance reports compiled for the Ecuadorian government by UC Global, a private Spanish security company, and obtained by CNN. They chronicle Assange's movements and provide an unprecedented window into his life at the embassy. They also add a new dimension to the Mueller report, which cataloged how WikiLeaks helped the Russians undermine the US election.

An Ecuadorian intelligence official told CNN that the surveillance reports are authentic. The security logs noted that Assange personally managed some of the releases "directly from the embassy" where he lived for nearly seven years. After the election, the private security company prepared an assessment of Assange's allegiances. That report, which included open-source information, concluded there was "no doubt that there is evidence" that Assange had ties to Russian intelligence agencies.

Assange, a native of Australia, has always denied working for the Kremlin and has insisted that the source of the leaks "is not the Russian government and it is not a state party."

He also said he would have published damaging information about then-candidate Donald Trump if he had received it.

The US announced criminal charges against Assange earlier this year for his role in the 2010 leaks of secret diplomatic cables and Pentagon war logs, which WikiLeaks got from then-US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. British police yanked Assange from the embassy in April. He is now serving a one-year prison term in London for skipping bail in the UK, while aggressively fighting extradition to the US.

WikiLeaks won't respond to CNN for comment. Assange's lawyers didn't either. Assange says he's innocence, WikiLeaks says the charges are "the worst attack on press freedom in our lifetime."

Oh man, this part is the best, tho:

Assange also issued a special list of people who were able to enter the embassy without showing identification or being searched by security. He was even granted the power to delete names from the visitor logs.

To avoid surveillance cameras, Assange occasionally met guests inside the women's bathroom, according to the security reports.

Exclusive: Security reports reveal how Assange turned an embassy into a command post for election meddling