Not shying away from applying antiquated and little-used statutes in the interest of protecting the United States government from the actions of journalists, federal prosecutors have added a 19th count to the 18-count indictment against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, charging him with violating federal statute 40 U.S.C. §8103, which makes it a crime to injure a government-owned lamp.
"Hacking and journalism aren't all this self-obsessed renegade is guilty of," stated John Brown of the FBI's Counterintelligence Division. "His haphazard demolition of a perfectly functional lighting device also demonstrates his utter disdain for U.S. government property. It's an outrage."
Assange, an Australian citizen, had already been charged with violating the Espionage Act of 1917 for releasing classified United States Government documents and for generally being a narcissist. Specifically, this 19th count alleges that, in 2010, in his eagerness to hack into government computers while admiring his reflection in his computer monitor, Assange recklessly reached across his desk and knocked over a desk lamp that had been temporarily loaned to him by a U.S. Foreign Services employee, sending it plummeting to the ground and shattering the bulb in its entirety.
Although the American Foreign Service employee who allegedly loaned Assange the lamp in question insists that the lamp was a personal gift, not government property, U.S. officials have dismissed these assertions as the product of blackmail by Wikileaks terrorists.
"Assange has claimed all along that he is simply a journalist seeking to publish verified information about the actions of the U.S. government," said Brown. "With this lamp offense, however, it's clear that his true aim is to keep us all in the dark. Literally."
He added, "Someone should let him know he won't need his skateboard in prison."