Assange blasts ‘absurd’ bid to class WikiLeaks a hostile intelligence service
The Senate Intelligence Committee is proposing a provision in its annual ‘intelligence authorisation’ bill to declare WikiLeaks as such.
“It is the sense of Congress that WikiLeaks and the senior leadership of WikiLeaks resemble a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors and should be treated as such a service by the United States,” the bill states.
Published Friday, the bill was passed by the committee late last month on a 14-1 vote. Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon voted against the measure citing the “legal, constitutional and policy implications” that the WikiLeaks provision may entail.
Assange tweeted a statement describing it as “absurd” to brand media organizations in such a way.
“It is equivalent to suggesting that the CIA is a media organization. Publishers publish what they obtain,” Assange said. “Intelligence agencies do not.”
“It is an interesting thought experiment to consider where other media outlets lay on this spectrum. It is clear that if the 'Pompeo doctrine' applies to WikiLeaks then it applies equally if not more so to other serious outlets," he added.
US intelligence agencies have accused Russia of hacking emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and relaying the data to WikiLeaks for publication.
In April, CIA Director Mike Pompeo branded WikiLeaks a "hostile non-state intelligence agency" which should not be afforded the protections of the First Amendment under the constitution.
In March, WikiLeaks began publishing a series of leaks – codenamed ‘Vault 7,’ allegedly from the CIA, revealing the agency’s arsenal of hacking tools.