Sarah Harrison (journalist)

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Sarah Harrison
Sarah Harrison, with earrings and long, dirty blonde ponytail, faces left towards a microphone
Harrison at the 30th Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg, 2013
Born 1981/1982 (age 34–35)[1]
Occupation Journalist
Citizenship United Kingdom[2]
Alma mater Queen Mary, University of London,
City University London
Genre News leaks
Subject Human rights violations, global surveillance and security[2]

Sarah Harrison (born 1981/1982[1]) is a British journalist, legal researcher, and WikiLeaks section editor. She works with the WikiLeaks Legal Defense and is Julian Assange's closest adviser.[3] Harrison accompanied National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden on a high-profile flight from Hong Kong to Moscow while he was sought by the United States government.[4]

Early life and career[edit]

Harrison was born to Ian and Jennifer Harrison, respectively an executive at clothing retailer Burton, and a reading specialist.[1] In her youth, Harrison attended Sevenoaks School, a private school.[1] Her father has said she was a good runner and swimmer.[1] Harrison performed well in her International Baccalaureate exams and took a gap year to travel and ski.[1] She studied English at Queen Mary, University of London.[1] Harrison continued to travel and decided to be a journalist.[1]

In 2009, Harrison became an unpaid intern researcher at the Centre for Investigative Journalism at City University, London, which trains journalists.[1] In 2010 she became a junior researcher at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a new professional organisation also at the university.[1] She later graduated from City University London.[5]


As an intern at the Centre, she was assigned to Julian Assange before the Afghan War documents leak.[6] She sorted files about the Iraq War from Assange for future television documentaries.[1] After Daniel Domscheit-Berg left WikiLeaks over 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.[6] Harrison is a WikiLeaks section editor.[3] She works with the WikiLeaks Legal Defense led by Baltasar Garzón,[2] and is Julian Assange's closest adviser.[3]

Edward Snowden[edit]

On 24 June 2013, WikiLeaks said that Harrison accompanied National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden on a high-profile[7] flight from Hong Kong to Moscow en route to political asylum from US extradition.[2][3][6][7] 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.[6] At the time, she had been with the organisation for over two years.[3] On 1 August 2013, Harrison accompanied Snowden out of Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport after he was granted a year of temporary asylum.[8]

In 2014 Harrison spoke about her support for WikiLeaks' endeavours saying "the greatest unaccountable power of today [is] the United States and our Western democracies."[9]

Harrison currently lives in Berlin under legal advice that it would be unsafe to return to the UK.[10][needs update]

Harrison also works as acting director for Courage Foundation, an organisation whose aim is providing support to whistleblowers all around the world, including Edward Snowden himself.[11]


Harrison received the Willy Brandt Peace Prize in 2015.[12]

In the media[edit]

The character Laura Sutton in Season 5 of Homeland is loosely based off Harrison. In the season, Sutton plays a journalist who receives classified documents from hackers in Berlin seemingly originating from American intelligence agencies.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Levy, Geoffrey (28 June 2013). "The public school girl who fell for Julian Assange- then went on the run with the world’s most wanted man". Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers. Archived from the original on 29 June 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d FlorCruz, Michelle (23 June 2013). "Edward Snowden Travels To Moscow Accompanied By WikiLeaks' Sarah Harrison". International Business Times. Archived from the original on 24 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Kelley, Michael (24 June 2013). "Meet Sarah Harrison, The Wikileaks Representative Travelling With Edward Snowden". Business Insider. Allure Media. Archived from the original on 24 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  4. ^ Corbijn, Sara Corbett, Anton. "How a Snowdenista Kept the NSA Leaker Hidden in a Moscow Airport". Vogue. Retrieved 2017-01-27. 
  5. ^ Daily Mail Reporter (18 December 2010). "Welcome to WikiLeaks Manor: Julian Assange enjoys an emotional reunion with his mother". Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers. Archived from the original on 24 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d Rushe, Dominic (23 June 2013). "Edward Snowden's WikiLeaks escort one of Assange's closest advisors". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Archived from the original on 24 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Shane, Scott (23 June 2013). "Offering Snowden Aid, WikiLeaks Gets Back in the Game". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 24 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "NSA spy leaks: Edward Snowden leaves Moscow airport". BBC News. 1 August 2013. Archived from the original on 7 October 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  9. ^ Berthold Stevens (2 July 2014), Exposing the secrets of unaccountable power Deutsche Welle
  10. ^ "Exclusive: WikiLeaks Editor Sarah Harrison on Helping Edward Snowden, Being Forced to Live in Exile". Democracy Now!. 1 July 2014. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  11. ^ Courage team members participate in Reddit AMA
  12. ^ "Sarah Harrison: SPD ehrt Snowden-Vertraute für "politischen Mut"". Spiegel Online. 2015-09-17. Retrieved 2016-01-12. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Sarah Harrison at Wikimedia Commons