Julian Assange: Speculating About Our Sources Is a "Meta-Story"


CHUCK TODD, NBC: Let me start with the WikiLeaks core mission, in the service that you have wanted it to perform, to speak truth to power. Are you concerned that if foreign government uses your entity that you have now seen WikiLeaks get weaponized?

JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, James Clapper on Friday, the head of U.S. intelligence, the D.N.I., said there's been a lot of hyperventilation in the press, and that it was impossible even to ascribe motive at this stage, let alone who it is.I'll give the exact quote: "We don't know enough to ascribe motivation regardless of who it might have been." So hyperventilation always becomes James Clapper. So, that's where we're starting in terms of U.S. intelligence.

Now, I think it's extremely interesting, however, the Clinton campaign, in order to divert attention from proof that we published that the Sanders campaign was subverted within the D.N.C., not simply comments within the D.N.C., but a chain of command issuing orders to push around, without attribution, fake stories showing that Sanders supporters were violent amongst numerous other matters. That has been pushed out before the public. And response, what does the Clinton campaign do? The Clinton campaign tries to take attention away from a very serious domestic allegation about election interference and try and bring in foreign policy.

CHUCK TODD: Well, the easiest way, Mr. Assange, the easiest way to clear this up--

JULIAN ASSANGE: So-- so concerning is that even to the head of the D.N.I., the Clinton campaign is pulling the government, pulling the state of politics along with it, to create an international conflict.

CHUCK TODD: Well, let me ask you this, though. This is unusual, but--

JULIAN ASSANGE: --I have to come out and explain.

CHUCK TODD: I understand that, but the easiest way to clear this up, Mr. Assange, would you be able to say categorically that a foreign government did not hand you this material? The issue at hand here is the idea that a foreign government is using you as a go-between, is using WikiLeaks.

This is no longer about accountability on public figures. This is one foreign government going after another foreign government, using you as the intermediary. That seems to be a different deal than, for instance, a whistleblower handing material over to expose government authoritarianism or something like that.

JULIAN ASSANGE: What I can say categorically is that we have published proof that the election campaign of Bernie Sanders was sabotaged in a corrupt manner by Debbie Wasserman Schultz and others within the D.N.C. We can say that categorically. We have published proof. But as for anything else, we can only speculate. I do think it's an interesting question, of course, as to who our sources are. But as a source protection organization, that many sources from across the world of many different types rely on to protect their identity, and their rights, to communicate the truth to the public. And that's what we're talking about here, communicating the truth.

CHUCK TODD: I totally understand that. But doesn't-- I've got to ask you, though, when a foreign government gets involved, there is a difference there. When a foreign government gets involved, you just said yourself, "Well, that's an interesting question." Transparency on WikiLeaks: why not be fully transparent and say, "Look, here's the material." Where it comes from doesn't change the facts in the material. But it is helpful to know if a foreign government is involved, isn't that crucial information to civilians?

JULIAN ASSANGE: I think that is an interesting question. The difficulty that WikiLeaks has, of course, is that we can't go around speculating on who our sources are. That would be irresponsible.

CHUCK TODD: But you can't speculate. You know the answer, well Mr. Assange. Mr. Assange, you say you can't go around speculating. Do you not know the answer?

JULIAN ASSANGE: We don't give any material away as to who our sources are. It's a security matter for us as to who our sources are. We have a perfect track record--

CHUCK TODD: Okay, but let me ask you this. Do you accept--

JULIAN ASSANGE: --completely accurate information on the one hand, and on the other hand of never revealing our sources.

CHUCK TODD: All right. Let me ask you this. Do you, without revealing your source on this, do you accept information and leaked documents from foreign governments?

JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, our publishing model means that what we publish is guaranteed to be true. That's what we're concerned about. That's what our readers are concerned about. That's the right of the general public, to not--

CHUCK TODD: But isn't the right of the public to know the motive also, to know the motive of the maker?

JULIAN ASSANGE: --very serious true information, which is producing great investigative journalism in the United States, and is continuing to do so as each day passes by. But I think the real question is what is the legitimacy now and what is the accountability of what has occurred within the Democratic campaign, where we have clear proof of sabotage?

It's already seen one head resign. Our sources within the D.N.C. say that they believe more heads are going to roll. But what about the election? What's a regress for the people that have effectively, one could argue, have had a candidate stolen from them as a result of corrupt practices within the D.N.C.?

CHUCK TODD: Does that not trouble you at all, if a foreign government is trying to meddle in the affairs of another foreign government?

JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, it's an interesting speculative question that's for the press and others to perhaps--

CHUCK TODD: That doesn't bother you? That is not part of the WikiLeaks credo?

JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, it's a meta story. If you're asking would we accept information from U.S. intelligence that we had verified to be completely accurate, and would we publish that, and would we protect our sources in U.S. intelligence, the answer is yes, of course we would.

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