The court documents citing Mr. Thordarson as witness purport to show that Assange instructed Thordarson to commit computer intrusions or hacking in Iceland. Thordarson now admits to Stundin that this was a lie. His new claim is that he had in fact received some files from a third party who claimed to have recorded members of parliament from Iceland and had offered to share them with Assange without having any idea what they actually contained. The judge who ruled about the extradition of Assange sided with the arguments of the American legal team, including citing the specific samples from Iceland. Other misleading elements can be found in the indictment like a reference to Icelandic bank documents. Nothing supports the claim that this file was even “stolen” per se, as it was assumed to have been distributed by whistleblowers from inside the failed bank. Furthermore: “He [Assange] used unauthorized access … used to track police vehicles.”. The deception about this is that the login information was that one of Thoradarson by his own. It was not obtained illegally or by nefarious means.
There is furthermore no indication WikiLeaks staff had any knowledge of Thordarson’s contacts with hacking groups when he volunteered Wikileaks in 2010. Thordarson frequently asked the hackers to either access material from Icelandic entities or attack Icelandic websites with so-called DDoS attacks. Thordarson was never instructed to make those requests by anyone inside WikiLeaks. Wikileaks had clearly no interest in that especially at such a sensitive time while they were in the midst of publishing a huge trove of US diplomatic cables.
Thordarson also had some lavish trips abroad where he mispresented himself as an official representative of WikiLeaks. He also admits that he stole documents from WikiLeaks staff by copying their hard drives. When Thordarson continued to request attacks on Icelandic interests, the FBI knew and saw an opportunity to implicate Julian Assange. Further attacks were conducted under the watchful eyes of the FBI who must have authorized or even initiated these attacks. Icelandic authorities were fooled into cooperation under false pretenses: “They were trying to use things here [in Iceland] and use people in our country to spin a web, a cobweb that would catch Julian Assange”.
It emerged Thordarson had commited financial fraud against Wikileaks by directing funds to his own bank account. Thereupon he was not welcome anymore as WikiLeaks people found out that he had embezzled funds of the organization. Thordarson saw a way out and he sent an email to the US Embassy in Iceland offering information in relation to a criminal investigation. The prosecutors and FBI were quick in responding and within 48 hrs a private jet landed in Reykjavik with around eight agents. Mr. Jónasson, then Minister of Interior got wind of this new visit, tried to ask for confirmation that this was related to the same case as the DDos attacks and what rogatory letter this visit was based on. He found out that the visit was of totally different kind, added two and two together and said it was obvious that the intention was to lay a trap for Assange and other members of Wikileaks. Jónasson ordered that all cooperation shall be stopped and that FBI agents were acting in Iceland without authority. They left with star wittness Sigurdur Thordarson to Denmark.
At the same time charges for massive fraud and sexual violations with underaged boys piled up against Thordarson. Thordarson received relatively lenient sentences for sexual violations against underage boys he had tricked or forced into sexual acts on the other in 2013 and 2014. In May 2019 Thordarson was offered an immunity deal that granted him immunity from prosecution based on any information on wrong doing they had on him. The offer of immunity seemed to encouraged Thordarson to take bolder steps in crime. He used to borrow merchandise, rent luxury cars, even order large quantities of goods from wholesalers without any intention to pay for these goods and services. He has not yet been charged and is still practicing this “business”.
The Department of Justice had already tried to build up a case against Julian Assange in the Obama era but then they had to give up because there was such a difficulty in distinguishing between Wikileaks and New York Times publications that going against one of them would have entailed going against the other one. Then in the Trump era they were more successful.