In 2006 in Iceland, Julian Assange created the website WikiLeaks that made a large database of private documents available to the public for the first time. Since its inception, more than 10 million documents have been revealed, and not everybody’s a fan of the site. This includes Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Presidential hopeful from the Democratic Party who had plenty of documents leaked by Assange during her campaign, including private emails that could have possibly derailed her hopes of being President.
Clinton had been fairly quiet after losing the election to Donald Trump, but has finally spoken out about Assange and his website. In an interview in Australia, Clinton said that Assange was no longer interested in just exposing all truths, but has “become a kind of nihilistic opportunist who does the bidding of a dictator.” That dictator that she was referring to was Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Clinton added that Assange is “a tool of Russian intelligence, and if he’s such a…martyr of free speech, why doesn’t WikiLeaks ever publish anything that comes out of Russia?” According to Clinton, Assange and company united to make sure that her campaign wouldn’t end in a victory in 2016.
“There was a concerted operation between WikiLeaks and Russia and most likely people in the United States to, as I say, weaponize that information, to make up stories, outlandish, often terrible stories that had no basis in fact, no basis even in the emails themselves, but which were used to denigrate me, my campaign, people who supported me and to help (Donald) Trump,” she said. “WikiLeaks is unfortunately now practically a fully owned subsidiary of Russian intelligence.”
Regarding the 2016 election, Clinton said “I lost the electoral college by about 77,000, and what we’re finding out is that there had to be some very sophisticated help provided to WikiLeaks…to know how to target both their messages of suppression and their negative messages to affect voters.” One of the leaks came shortly after Donald Trump had a leaked tape revealed where he said “grab her by the p****.” In the leak, Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta came under fire. Because of the timing, Clinton said “I’ve no doubt in my mind that there was some communication if not coordination to drop those the first time in response to the ‘Hollywood Access’ tape.”
Assange would respond to Clinton’s interview, saying on Twitter that “On Clinton’s ‘timing’ conspiracy theory. That we had a pending publication about to launch on the election was everywhere in the media for days. We were meant to launch that morning. It was the Trump tape that was moved forward from Monday to Friday.” He also added that “WikiLeaks has a pristine record for accuracy. (Hillary Clinton) is not a credible person. The primary cause of her downfall was her own Machiavellian scheme to elevate Mr. Trump,” while also adding a link to a recent Russian leak.
Upon seeing Clinton’s interview, Assange said that “There’s something wrong with Hillary Clinton. It is not just her constant lying. It is not just that she throws off menacing glares and seethes thwarted entitlement. Watch closely. Something much darker rides along with it. A cold creepiness rarely seen.”
Clinton has been fighting a very long battle against Assange and WikiLeaks that goes back to before her Presidential campaign. “Out intelligence community and other observers of Russia and Putin have said he held a grudge against me because, as Secretary of State, I stood up against some of his actions, his authoritarianism, but it’s much bigger than that. He wants to destabilize democracy, he wants to undermine America, he wants to go after the Atlantic alliance and we consider Australia an extension of that.”
Leaks of private information have been commonplace, and will likely continue with or without Assange in one form or another. In her interview, Clinton warned about these types of leaks in the future, saying “We’ve got to get used to the idea that cyber attacks are a really sophisticated and very difficult new form of theft.” She added that the 2016 election was “a precursor to what we will see continuing to happen in our politics or your politics or any democracy’s politics, unless we figure out how to get ahead of it, and both to prevent it and mitigate it.”