During a "press conference" Monday morning, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said it was clear that the ODNI report on the hacking of the DNC and former Hillary Clinton presidential campaign chief John Podesta was clearly politicized. He added that the report was "quite embarrassing to the reputations of the US intelligence services."
Assange discussed the ODNI report and the tens of thousands of emails taken from DNC officials and Podesta in an audio stream on Periscope.tv, and answered questions posed by people on Twitter using #AskWL -- not a formal press conference. During the audio stream, Assange said only about 5 of the 20 pages in the report were analysis and the report offered no evidence to back up its conclusion that the Russian government was behind the hacks.
The ODNI report says that the U.S. intelligence community is confident that the Russian government was behind the hacks. However, Assange on Monday said the report uses "speculative terms and sneaky conflation" and relies more on social media actors than actual evidence. For instance, the ODNI report cites Russian officials celebrating Trump's victory, but Assange pointed out that anyone can make these statements.
WikiLeaks has been accused by U.S. government officials, both elected and within the intelligence community, of working with the Russians to help Donald Trump get elected. Assange said this accusation fails to address obvious discrepancies in the timeline of events.
The Podesta emails released by WikiLeaks dated as late as March 2016. U.S. intelligence services and consultants for the DNC say Russian hackers started hacking the DNC in 2015. Assange pointed out that not only was Donald Trump not the Republican nominee by these dates, but he was not even considered a serious contender -- not by WikiLeaks, not by most media outlets and pundits.
"The CIA report deliberately obscures its assessments of intentions as it relates to timeframes," Assange commented. He added that the failure to come back openly about the timeframe shows the politicization of the report.
Assange has repeatedly denied that the hacked emails published by WikiLeaks came from any state agency or party.
"If our sources were a state we would have a lot less concern in attempting to protect them,” he said. He added that any more information on the source would make it easier to identify them.
When asked if WikiLeaks endorsed any candidate in the 2016 presidential election or hoped Donald Trump would win, Assange said the group "didn't hope for any particular manner." Assange said WikiLeaks thought, just like everyone else, that Hillary Clinton was going to win. Polls leading up to Election Day gave Trump as high as a 30% chance of winning. Assange believes it was the opinion polls that ended up being Clinton's downfall.
Assange added that U.S. voters rejected the political elite, the establishment, and voted to tear down the wall they have erected around Washington. It is his assertion that the political elite are now trying to protect themselves; especially, in the Democratic Party. As a result of rigging the primary, he says the Democratic Party did not put up the most competitive candidate and now party officials are fighting to prevent their base from kicking them all out.
In terms of presidential administrations going after whistleblowers and condemning sites like WikiLeaks, Assange said he doesn't believe anything will change under the Trump administration.
"No system of authority likes those who undermine their authority,” he remarked. He encouraged individuals within the Obama administration to "take the data now, keep it under your bed or with your mother. You can give it to WikiLeaks," as he was sure the destruction of such data was going on right now.
“Past administrations of Democratic and Republican flavors have engaged in mass destruction of records. We are told destruction of records are happening now in the Obama administration,” he said. Assange believes these historical archives belong to the American people -- and to humanity -- and should be preserved, not destroyed.
Assange will host a Reddit AMA Tuesday to answer additional questions from people about the ODNI report and the emails published by WikiLeaks.
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