Julian Assange released a statement about the US election via WikiLeaks on Tuesday, standing by his organisation’s decision to publish hacked documents related to the Clinton campaign throughout the final few weeks of the campaign.
“The right to receive and impart true information is the guiding principle of WikiLeaks,” Assange wrote. “This is why, irrespective of the outcome of the 2016 US Presidential election, the real victor is the US public which is better informed as a result of our work.”
Assange, who currently resides in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, insisted that neither he nor WikiLeaks — a transparency organisation Assange founded in 2006 — have a “personal desire to influence the outcome of the election.”
“No-one disputes the public importance of these publications,” Assange wrote, referring to hacked Democratic National Committee documents that led to the resignation of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Shulz, and stolen emails from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s inbox.
“It would be unconscionable for WikiLeaks to withhold such an archive from the public during an election,” Assange continued. “At the same time, we cannot publish what we do not have. To date, we have not received information on Donald Trump’s campaign, or Jill Stein’s campaign, or Gary Johnson’s campaign or any of the other candidates that fulfils our stated editorial criteria.”
WikiLeaks’ website states that it “specialises in the analysis and publication of large datasets of censored or otherwise restricted official materials involving war, spying, and corruption.”
The organisation has come under fire from transparency advocates including NSA leaker Edward Snowden and journalist Glenn Greenwald for not redacting sensitive information such as names, addresses, and phone numbers that may put civilians at risk.
Assange went on to criticise The New York Times for withholding information about “illegal mass surveillance” from voters until a year after the 2004 election, and slammed the Clinton campaign and its supporters for painting Donald Trump “with a broad, red brush.”
“The Clinton campaign, when they were not spreading obvious untruths, pointed to unnamed sources or to speculative and vague statements from the intelligence community to suggest a nefarious allegiance with Russia,” Assange wrote. “The campaign was unable to invoke evidence about our publications — because none exists.”
WikiLeaks has been linked repeatedly to Russia, primarily because the documents that WikiLeaks has published over the course of the campaign were initially stolen by Russian hackers, according to the US Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Assange, who did not address the link between Russia and the hacked documents in his statement, also had his own program on state-sponsored Russian news agency Russia Today in 2012.
In any case, Assange wrote, WikiLeaks has had to withstand “a number of false narratives” espoused by its critics, but has chosen not to “rebuff” that criticism so as not to distract from its primary mission.
Notably, however, WikiLeaks is constantly responding to critics and defending its work via its Twitter account. A couple of the more high-profile instances can be seen below:
Assange touted WikiLeaks’ “perfect record” in his statement on Tuesday, as well.
“WikiLeaks’ decade-long pristine record for authentication remains,” he wrote. “Our key publications this round have even been proven through the cryptographic signatures of the companies they passed through, such as Google. It is not every day you can mathematically prove that your publications are perfect but this day is one of them.”
He finished his statement with a vow that WikiLeaks’ work would continue.
“Wikileaks remains committed to publishing information that informs the public, even if many, especially those in power, would prefer not to see it,” he wrote. “WikiLeaks must publish. It must publish and be damned.”
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