The Justice Department has long viewed Julian Assange as a menace, but it might soon officially view him as a criminal. 

Federal prosecutors are preparing criminal charges against the WikiLeaks founder in order to seek his arrest, reports CNN. The possibilities range from the most serious one of espionage to lesser ones such as theft of government property, reports the Washington Post

Top officials such as Attorney General Jeff Sessions must still sign off on any charges, and that hasn't happened yet. The Obama White House also considered criminal charges against Assange after his group published classified information obtained by Chelsea Manning, but ultimately decided against it on freedom-of-the-press grounds. But now prosecutors think they can make the case that Assange went beyond the role of mere publisher.

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