WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. (Markus Schreiber / AP)
Last week, CIA Director Mike Pompeo called WikiLeaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service.” On Wednesday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange responded in an interview with The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill.
Speaking from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been living since June 2012, Assange said:
Yeah, I quite like the phrase. So let’s unpack it a bit. Interestingly, the media, in picking up that statement, well, most journalists in the United States are democratically aligned, and they have a particular existing narrative that they want to play up. So they see the word ‘state.’ They see the word ‘hostile.’ They see the word ‘intelligence service.’ And they see the word ‘WikiLeaks.’ And somehow they put this soup together to imply that somehow WikiLeaks is a state intelligence service. But if you look at what he is saying, he says ‘non-state intelligence service’—i.e., we are not a state. We are not a front for a state whatsoever. We are a non-state entity. The type of entity that he is trying to say we are is an intelligence service. This raises an interesting question: What are the similarities between publishers, investigative publishers, and intelligence services? Are there similarities? Yes, there are similarities.
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Assange also addressed claims that WikiLeaks was biased during the 2016 election by publishing only documents relating to the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Scahill asked Assange whether WikiLeaks would have published Republican National Committee documents. Assange answered:
We didn’t publish any because we didn’t have any ... Of course [we would have]. When does WikiLeaks get a great scoop and not publish it? In some degree, WikiLeaks is a hostage to fortune because we do specialize in encouraging whistleblowers and other sources to step forward and analyzing what we get from them. We specialize in really big scoops. You can’t go, ‘Oh, look, we have this massive scoop about corruption in the DNC. Now we need to balance this with a massive scoop about corruption in the RNC.’ These things come along once every few years. You can’t go, ‘Oh, now we’re going to balance.’ ... There is a view that WikiLeaks is omnipotent in its ability to get hold of massive scoops whenever it wants. That’s nice. It’s good for the institution’s reputation. But it’s not true. Massive scoops are hard to come by.
You can listen to the whole interview here.
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—Posted by Eric Ortiz