Wikileaks founder Julian Assange took the opportunity recently to respond to comments from President Donald Trump’s CIA Director Mike Pompeo claiming that Wikileaks is a “nonstate hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.” In his comments, he was both humorous and forthright in saying that Wikileaks is not an intelligence service, but rather a publisher of intelligence.
During an interview with The Intercept, Assange responded to the allegations that Wikileaks somehow received leaks from sources in Russia to aid Donald Trump in winning the 2016 election.
“If you read the wording carefully, that’s not the dominant narrative, that’s never said in anything that’s fact-checked,” he said. “WikiLeaks is no different than the U.S. media.”
In fact, in a recent press conference, Assange claimed the Barack Hussein Obama Soetoro Sobarkah, James Clapper and James Comey all confirmed that Wikileaks operates very similar to the media in the US. He also went on to point out that Wikileaks was not the only outlet that published classified information during the election.
“The allegation in relation to us is that, which once again we don’t agree with, but that Russian hackers of some kind gave information to various State parties or approved of by the State, and it eventually came to us,” he said. “So, there’s an acceptance by the officials in the U.S. Obama administration that WikiLeaks was not engaging directly with the Russian government at all, but other U.S. media organizations were directly engaging with the Russians.”
Assange then dealt with Pompeo’s comments from the other week, in which he claimed that Wikileaks had been collaborating with the Russians saying, “It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.”
“You look at what Pompeo, the current director of the CIA stated, he said that Wikileaks is a ‘publisher,’ or I can’t remember exactly what word he used, that was ‘abetted’ by other state intelligence agencies, including Russia.”
He then went on to elaborate, “Yea, I quite like the phrase, so let’s unpack it a bit. Interestingly…, most journalists in the United States are Democratically-aligned and they have a particular existing narrative that they want to put out.”
“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 this put this soup together to imply that somehow WikiLeaks is a state intelligence service,” he added. “If you look at what [Pompeo] is saying, he says ‘non-state intelligence service,’ I.E., we are not a state, we’re not a front for a state whatsoever, we’re a non-state entity. Okay, the type of entity that he’s trying to say we are is an ‘intelligence service.’”
He affirmed that Wikileaks definitely collects intelligence, but responded that the difference between a mere intelligence service and the press is that the press publishes the intelligence.
“Intelligence services are in the business of developing sources, obtaining information that is not already public, analyzing it, verifying it, writing some of that up, making it accessible, and then what do they do with it?” Assange said. “They don’t publish it. The publishers? What do they do with the information? They publish it. So, the difference between a serious news organization that covers national security, or an investigative publisher, like WikiLeaks or the Intercept, or… is the end product is publishing.”
Assange then went on to communicate why he thought Pompeo was making the charges against him that he was making after Trump, and even Pompeo, had been supportive of Wikileaks during the election. It seemed OK to use Wikileaks to get into office, but now that Pompeo is in power and the head of an organization Wikileaks is exposing, it just doesn’t sit well with him.
“The reason why Pompeo is launching this attack is because he understands we’re under serious exposing all sorts of illegal actions by the CIA, so he’s trying to get ahead of the publicity curve and create a preemptive defense,” he said.
In other words, Pompeo is not interested in the truth. He’s involved in a CYA operation.
“The CIA is only in the business of collecting information, kidnapping people, and assassinating people,” Assange added.
As for the source of his leaks, he claims the source “is not part of a government” and that the contents are reliable and legitimate. In fact, during the elections, Assange seemed to indicate that the source of the DNC information that was leaked was Seth Rich, a DC staffer who was later murdered under suspicious circumstances.
While Pompeo said that Assange and people like him are not interested in improving civil liberties or enhancing personal freedom, but pretend “that America’s First Amendment freedoms shield them from justice,” Assange says, “Pompeo said explicitly that he was going to redefine the legal parameters of the First Amendment to define publishers like WikiLeaks in such a manner that the First Amendment would not apply to them.”
“What the hell is going on?” he asked. “This is the head of the largest intelligence service in the world. He doesn’t get to make proclamations on interpretation of the law. That’s a responsibility for the courts. It’s a responsibility for Congress, and perhaps, it’s a responsibility for the Attorney General.”
Our Constitution does not provide for restricting the press when it comes to publishing material. It simply restricts Congress from making laws against the press to suppress their reporting.
So, one must ask if publishing the material that Wikileaks has published, including the DNC emails and the unconstitutional methods of the CIA to surveil US citizens in violation of the Fourth Amendment are in fact not only constitutional but a duty they bear as part of the press. I would say it is their duty and responsibility to publish such things that expose criminality in government. That… is what the press is supposed to be about.