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Nigel Farage gave Julian Assange data on USB stick, US congressional enquiry hears

© John Thys, AFP | Former leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) Nigel Farage arrives for a meeting with the European Commission member in charge of Brexit negotiations at the EU headquarters in Brussels on January 8, 2018.

Latest update : 2018-01-20

Nigel Farage allegedly held several secret meetings with Julian Assange and gave him a USB stick with data on it, a US congressional enquiry has heard.

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage is alleged to have made several undisclosed trips to the Ecuadorian embassy in London to visit WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

It has also been asserted that Farage gave Assange a USB stick containing information during one of these secret visits.

These claims were made in an interview given at the US House of Representatives on November 14, 2017, by Glenn Simpson. Simpson is the co-founder of Fusion GPS, the investigative firm behind the contentious 'Trump dossier'.This was the 32-page document that claimed there was collusion between Trump's presidential campaign and Russia. It was partially funded by Hillary Clinton's campaign and was presented to the FBI.

WikiLeaks has previously been accused by Clinton of acting as a “fully owned subsidiary of Russian intelligence” after it published damaging emails, allegedly stolen by Russian operatives, during the presidential election campaign. On March 16, 2016, WikiLeaks launched a searchable archive for over 30,000 emails and email attachments sent to and from Clinton's private email server while she was Secretary of State.

Trump and the UK Independence Party

The full transcript of Simpson’s testimony was released on Saturday by the House Intelligence Committee. In it, Simpson claims WikiLeaks was part of a "somewhat unacknowledged relationship" between the Trump team and the "UKIP people".

He said that Farage, an open campaigner for President Donald Trump in the run up to the American election, became "someone that we were very interested in" after the United Kingdom's EU referendum vote in June 2016.

"I still think it's very interesting," he said. "And so I have formed my own opinions... that there was a somewhat unacknowledged relationship between the Trump people and the UKIP people, and that the path to WikiLeaks ran through that. And I still think that today."

Simpson then said that while there had been reports of one visit Farage made to the Ecuadorian embassy, he believed the two men had met more often.

"I've been told and have not confirmed that Nigel Farage had additional trips to the Ecuadoran embassy than the one that's been in the papers, and that he provided data to Julian Assange," he said.

Asked what kind of data, he replied: "A thumb drive [USB stick].”

Farage responded to Simpson's allegations with a single sentence: "This is conspiratorial nonsense." Last October, he described reports suggesting that he was a "bag man" running messages between Trump and Assange as a “complete lot of baloney”.

Assange has been resident in the Ecuadorian embassy since he was granted asylum there in the summer of 2012. He was granted Ecuadorian citizenship on December 12, 2017.

Farage first met Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy on March 9, 2017. A local man, Ian Stubbings, was walking by the embassy when he noticed Farage entering it and tweeted the news.

Camera crews were quick to react and were there to catch Farage’s departure. Asked what he was doing there, Farage said dismissively that he couldn’t remember what he’d done in the embassy or who he’d met with.

Assange has been quick to deny these secret visits took place, claiming that there is so much surveillance now on the Ecuadorian embassy that it would be difficult to keep anything secret.

In June last year, Farage dismissed a report that he was a "person of interest" in the FBI's investigation into possible collusion between Trump's presidential campaign and Russia.

However, Farage was one of the first official visitors to Trump Tower after the American’s election victory and, such was the accord formed between the two men, Trump went as far as to suggest that Farage should be appointed UK ambassador to the US.

Date created : 2018-01-20

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