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Speaking with Australian Broadcasting Corp., Clinton said Assange was a “nihilistic opportunist who does the bidding of a dictator,” referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the Associated Press. WikiLeaks famously published politically damaging information contained in hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman, John Podesta, ahead of the 2016 election.
“He’s a tool of Russian intelligence, and if he’s such a martyr of free speech, why doesn’t WikiLeaks ever publish anything coming out of Russia?” she said
Contrary to Clinton’s claim, WikiLeaks has published information that is unfavorable to Russia’s government. However, a Daily Dot investigation from September 2016 found that a trove of emails published by WikiLeaks in 2012 did not include evidence of a €2 billion transaction between Syria’s government and Russia’s VTB Bank.
Assange tweeted in response to Clinton’s claims, calling her “not a credible person.”
“WikiLeaks has a pristine record for accuracy. HRC is not a credible person. The primary cause of her downfall was her own Machiavellian scheme to elevate Mr. Trump (‘Pied Piper’),” Assange wrote.
Assange continued: “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 also pushed back against the idea that Assange’s publishing of classified material was similar to what journalists do.
“I think for number one, it’s stolen information,” Clinton said. “And number two, if all you did was publish it, that would be one thing. But there was a concerted operation between WikiLeaks and Russia and most likely people in the United States to, as I say, weaponize that information.”
Clinton’s assessment of WikiLeaks’ alleged collusion with Russia goes beyond the initial assessment by the United States intelligence community regarding Moscow’s attempts to meddle in last year’s election. A joint report prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Security Agency (NSA) and released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in early January claimed that hackers working for Russia’s military intelligence agency, GRU, leaked the DNC emails to WikiLeaks and other websites.
“Moscow most likely chose WikiLeaks because of its self-proclaimed reputation for authenticity,” the report reads. “Disclosures through WikiLeaks did not contain any evident forgeries.”
Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).