FBI agents are reportedly collecting new evidence about Australian WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a bid to strengthen their case against him.
Nine Newspapers has reported that US officials had tried to question the Scottish novelist who worked as a ghost-writer on Assange’s autobiography more than ten years ago.
News that the FBI were making fresh inquiries about Assange came as a blow to his supporters who had hoped that a diplomatic breakthrough would see him released from prison.
Assange is currently in London’s Belmarsh jail, fighting US attempts to extradite him to face espionage charges.
US authorities have charged Assange with 17 counts of breaching the US Espionage Act plus a separate hacking-related charge. The charges are in connection with the publication of leaked documents about the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
Writer Andrew O’Hagan - who has previously described Assange as “thin-skinned, conspiratorial, untruthful, and narcissistic” - told journalists he would never agree to an interview with the FBI.
Assange’s Australian lawyer Stephen Kenny said he found it strange that the FBI were continuing to investigate considering a decade had passed since the investigation began.
“I would think it is of some concern because we have been working to try to secure an arrangement that would see Julian come home,” he said.