Wikileaks announced a 9AM press conference on Monday morning to, quote, “respond to the CIA report on the US election”. Wikileaks readers were asked to tweet questions using the #AskWL hashtag on Twitter.
The press conference was streamed live from the Ecaudorian embassy in London, via an audio feed on Periscope.
Julian Assange slammed the recent report as a “press release”, stating that only about five pages of the report could be considered substantial content.
“The real question is whether the Russians hacked the Democratic party with the intention of favoring Donald Trump,” Said Assange [Paraphrase].
“Even if you accept that Russia hackers were involved, even if no evidence was presented in the report, what was the intent of those Russian attacks and do they connect to Wikileaks.”
Assange went on to confirm once again that the DNC emails and the Podesta emails were not provided by state actors.
He accuses that the report “deliberately obscures” the timeline of the email leak in regard to the timeframe in which Donald Trump became a serious contender for President. He notes that DNI director James Clapper himself has confirmed that the intelligence community does not know when Wikileaks obtained any of the emails.
Assange also took issue with the conflation of direct vote hacking and the possibility of information which caused a change in public opinion. He asserts that Donna Brazile and other DNC and Hillary campaign officials lied to the public by stating that the emails were “fake” and noted Wikileaks’ ten year accuracy record.
The conference then moved on to answering questions from the Twitter hashtag.
“On a scale of one to ten, how fabricated was the CIA report?” Assange states that this is an interesting question, since by nature of the report, there is very little accusatory information and most of the content is speculative.
“Your whole premise has been that you don’t know sources and therefore can’t endanger them. Now you say you don’t know your source.” Assange denies that this statement was made, and asserted that the source is not a state party. He clarifies that Wikileaks treats their source information with care and wants to keep that record. He says that depending on the case, they can give more or less information without compromising their safety.
“Is Wikileaks sure that the go-between didn’t get the information from the Russians or a private hacking group on order from the Russians?” Assange stated that “we can’t play 20 questions with sources, for obvious reasons.”
In regards to many questions about “proof of life”, Assange states that it has been a difficult time for him with pressure from many sides, and that he will address the proof of life issue in a Reddit AMA tomorrow morning.
“What is the most important thing we can do before obama leaves office?” Assange states his level of concern with destruction of records across agencies, and states that both Democrat and Republican governments have been guilty of destroying vital information. He asserts that destroying historical documents is a crime against humanity and our shared history. He asks whistleblowers to get ahold of data now and protect it.
“Julian, how are you doing? How is your health? How much longer will you survive in the embassy?” Assange states that “It’s a difficult environment to be in for six years without trial,” and that “On the other hand, I am committed to this work and it gives me engery to continue.”
“What would you say to people who see Wikileaks’ recent activity as an open endorsement of trump?” Assange states that before the election, he released an editorial (presumably this one) on behalf of Wikileaks which answered some of these concerns. He admits they all assumed Hillary was going to win, and goes on to explain that the conflict was mainly against the elite power class. He also asserts that he has concerns about Trump’s administration and calls many of his cabinet choices “poor” with “some interesting ones”. Trump will “loosen up” DC, he says – both positively and negatively.
“Do you think the intelligence report released by the CIA undermines the leak, or is this just growing pains of a major leak like this?” Assange states that Wikileaks like any publisher likes the attention on their materials, and the fact that the DNI report concluded the veracity and accuracy of their documents adds weight to the strength of the leaks. He states the content was what had the biggest impact.
“Is there a future for the FOIA in the present ‘fake news’ attack on the press and freedom of speech?” Assange calls the Freedom of Information Act a “formalized leak system” and states that there is a “hoover dam of information” that is being withheld due to Wikileaks being under investigation by the DOJ.
“Why don’t you explain why it would be hard for Russia to hack the votes. Explain the security, and how easy it would be.” Assange states that the media has put out a lot of misinformation leading people to believe the vote machines and vote counting infrastructure were breached. Though Assange criticizes electronic voting as not secure, he also states that the intelligence community has stated that this sort of hack did not occur.
“Why is there more focus on those who exposed the corruption instead of on the offenders?” Assange specifically notes Fox as one of the few mainstream outlets who actually covered the content – but gives the initial credit to the citizen journalists who found the most important information that was picked up later by broader media.
“Is there any truth to the rumour that W ikileaks had access to rnc data and chose not to leak?” “No, that’s false. Absolutely false.”
“How do you feel about trump cabinet picks that called for the death penalty for Wikileaks whistleblowers?” Assange states that many Republicans and Republican supporters were opportunists, but they were also mislead by the media and specifically the Obama administration that the Wikileaks releases led to the deaths of US soldiers. Assange states that this was proven to be false.
“Why do you think the US media is recieving intelligence before President Elect Trump?” Assange states that this was a strategic move to ensure the American public was only receiving one narrative, and to make it more difficult for Donald Trump and Wikileaks to respond to the allegations. He states that had they released it on a Friday afternoon themselves, it wouldn’t have had the same effect. Particularly since by releasing it on a Thursday afternoon, including some classified information that was not later released to the public, they were able to further their own narrative. He slams the report once again stating that “This report is not really about facts, it’s about producing something that is not falsifiable and is intellectually bankrupt.”
“Do you believe whistleblowers will be safer in the upcoming administration, or will they continue to be persecuted?” Assange states that he believes they will continue to be persecuted, and that though there are some anti-DC elements of the upcoming administration, Trump will form his own establishment.
“No system of authority likes those who undermine it’s authority.” Said Assange.