WikiLeaks, key player in 2016 U.S. election, suffers brief outage

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Secret-spilling website WikiLeaks, a pivotal player in the email leaks that buffeted the 2016 U.S. presidential election, suffered a brief outage on Monday.

Visitors to the site were met with an error message saying the security certificate used to ensure private communication with its users had expired and that access was forbidden.

WikiLeaks effectively became invisible to most internet users, a problem that was fixed several hours later when a new certificate was installed.

The blooper came at a particularly trying time for WikiLeaks, whose jailed founder Julian Assange is fighting extradition from Britain to the United States over charges connected to the disclosure of U.S. diplomatic secrets by former Army private Chelsea Manning in 2010.

Assange would later go on to publish tens of thousands of emails belonging to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, a development that might have contributed to her loss in the 2016 election.

A Senate report this month said WikiLeaks had played a key role in Russia’s effort to assist Republican President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign against Clinton and likely knew it was helping Russian intelligence.

Messages left with Kristinn Hrafnsson, who replaced Assange as WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief after the latter’s arrest, were not immediately returned.

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