Kromberg, an assistant United States attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, may be unknown to foreign and even many American observers. In U.S. legal circles, though, he has been a highly controversial figure for over two decades, dogged by accusations of bias and politicization in his prosecutions. For years, civil rights activists and lawyers tried to draw attention to allegations of Kromberg’s abusive practices. Rather than being pushed into obscurity by these efforts, today he is serving as a key figure in one of the most important civil liberties cases in the world.
In all, the January court documents from Assange’s extradition case mention Kromberg over 40 times to help make the legal argument for extraditing Assange. Many of his statements go to the heart of the Espionage Act case against the WikiLeaks publisher.
The case has raised alarms among civil liberties groups in the United States, particularly in light of the Biden administration’s decision to continue pressing for extradition. Assange has become a controversial figure in the U.S. due to his alleged role in manipulating the 2016 presidential election, but the charges he faces relate almost entirely to acts of receiving and publishing secret information — the bread and butter of most national security journalism.