Sunday June 23, 14:00 BST
Sarah Harrison is a UK citizen, journalist, and legal researcher who is currently working with the WikiLeaks Legal Defense team led by former Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon.
Miss Harrison has worked on important investigative projects that have uncovered serious human rights violations and aspects of the global surveillance industry in her capacity as a journalist and section editor for WikiLeaks, and as an investigative researcher for The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the Centre for Investigative Journalism.
Miss Harrison is seen here in video launching WikiLeaks’ Syria Files at the Frontline Club in London, on 5 July 2012: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rIC…
Miss Harrison has courageously assisted Mr. Snowden with his lawful departure from Hong Kong and is accompanying Mr. Snowden in his passage to safety.
Early life and career
Harrison was born to Ian and Jennifer Harrison, respectively, an executive at clothing retailer Burton, and a reading specialist. In her youth, Harrison attended Sevenoaks School, a private school. Her father has said she was a good runner and swimmer. Harrison performed well in her International Baccalaureate exams and took a gap year to travel and ski. She studied English at Queen Mary, University of London. Harrison continued to travel and decided to be a journalist.
In 2009, Harrison became an unpaid intern researcher at the Centre for Investigative Journalism at City University, London, which trains journalists. In 2010, she became a junior researcher at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a new professional organization also at the university. She later graduated from City University London.
As an intern at the Centre, she was assigned to Julian Assange before the Afghan War documents leak. She sorted files about the Iraq War from Assange for future television documentaries. When main members of WikiLeaks left the organisation due to a dispute with Assange, Harrison’s role in the organisation increased, particularly with the embassy cable publication and Assange’s legal fight against Swedish extradition. Harrison is a WikiLeaks section editor. She works with the WikiLeaks Legal Defense led by Baltasar Garzón, and is reportedly one of Julian Assange’s closest advisers.
On 24 June 2013, WikiLeaks said that Harrison accompanied National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden on a high-profile flight from Hong Kong to Moscow en route to political asylum from American extradition. Dominic Rushe of The Guardian observed that Harrison was a “strange choice” because of her lack of legal qualifications compared to other WikiLeaks staff, such as human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson. At the time, she had been with the organisation for over two years. As of the announcement, Harrison and Snowden’s final destination are unknown.
Edward Snowden’s WikiLeaks escort one of Assange’s closest advisors
Sarah Harrison revealed as the WikiLeaks staffer accompanying NSA whistleblower on journey to ‘democratic country’
When WikiLeaks claimed in a tweet that it was assisting NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden‘s “political asylum in a democratic country” there was one detail that apparently confirmed its involvement – that Snowden was travelling with a person whose surname was Harrison.
Sarah Harrison – who WikiLeaks on Sunday published an updated biography for – has been a staff member for more than two years, and is one of Julian Assange‘s closest advisors.
She began her involvement with the group when as an intern at the UK-based Centre for Investigative Journalism, she was assigned to Assange ahead of WikiLeaks’ publication of the Afghan war logs.
As several key members, including Assange’s number-two Daniel Domscheit-Berg and several of his associates, left in a dispute with Assange, she became more important to WikiLeaks and was closely involved in the publication of the embassy cables and with Assange’s personal legal battles to avoid extradition to Sweden. She has been pictured on numerous occasions attending court with the WikiLeaks founder.
Despite her closeness to Assange, Harrison may seem a strange choice to accompany Snowden, as unlike several people close to WikiLeaks – most notably human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson – Harrison has no legal qualifications or background.
Julian Assange has made several public statements in support of Edward Snowden and told reporters last week he had been in touch with the whistleblower through intermediaries.
The direct intervention in Snowden’s situation marks a departure in practice for WikiLeaks – which has previously stressed its arms-length relationship with sources – but is consistent with the organisation’s world view on protecting and supporting whistleblowers.
Snowden’s intended destination, his plans once he gets there, and whether WikiLeaks intends to play a longer-term role supporting or working with Snowden are not yet known.