‘Obsessive and obscenity-laden’: Assange hits back at Intercept claims he backed Trump
WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange has rejected claims by The Intercept that he backed Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. He accused the outlet of furthering one of the authors' personal obsession.
“The editorial propriety of letting Micah F Lee, of all people, instrumentalize the Intercept to further his obsessive, obscenity laden campaign against WikiLeaks must be questioned,” Assange said on Thursday.
- the editorial propriety of letting Micah F Lee, of all people, instrumentalize the Intercept to further his obsessive, obscenity laden campaign against WikiLeaks must be questioned. Lee was formally behind cutting off WikiLeaks' US tax deductible donations.— Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 14, 2018
Assange added that Lee was “formally behind cutting off WikiLeaks' US tax deductible donations,” referring to the Freedom of the Press Foundation cutting off WikiLeaks’ access to funding.
In Wednesday’s story, Lee and Cora Currier of The Intercept claimed to have seen private Twitter messages from WikiLeaks staff from November 2015 onwards.
“We believe it would be much better for GOP to win,” said a message they attributed to Assange. “Dems+Media+liberals would then form a block to reign in their worst qualities.”
“With Hillary in charge, GOP will be pushing for her worst qualities. Dems+media+neoliberals will be mute,” another message said. “She’s a bright, well connected, sadistic sociopath.”
“GOP will generate a lot opposition, including through dumb moves. Hillary will do the same thing, but co-opt the Liberal opposition and the GOP opposition,” a third message said. “Hence Hillary has greater freedom to start wars than the GOP and has the will to do so.”
On Thursday, Assange said Lee had a long-standing vendetta against his whistleblowing organization, and he was instrumental in blocking tax-deductible donations to the site.
- here is the letter to the board on the financial threat to WikiLeaks together with the full context (as you expect and love from us) https://t.co/hAnISYZzX0- the fragments referencing Lee are below, but I do recommend reading the whole letter. Bonus for John Perry Barlow fans. pic.twitter.com/8TdhCYfHsy— Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 14, 2018
- after I wrote to the FPF board last year on that serious subject, Lee has become hysterical. The conflict of interest is obvious. Such a story should have been given to someone else. By failing to do so the story's credibility has been marred.— Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 14, 2018
Assange, who is still confined to the Ecuadorian embassy in London after his appeals against a UK arrest warrant failed, insisted Wikileaks does not save such messages. He added that the writers of the article did not even contact him to check the veracity of the comments, and that they admitted the group who sent the messages had “low security” and was not set up by Wikileaks.
WikiLeaks cannot confirm any Twitter supporter group messages- @WikiLeaks does not retain such messages- WikiLeaks has not been contacted by the authors- the article claims the group was a "low security group" for "supporters" and was not set up by WikiLeaks.— Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 14, 2018
- there are dozens of such groups, full of people's freewheeling banter and quips, but even the funniest do not represent editorial policy. https://t.co/2wBHYe20Ji— Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 14, 2018
The Wikileaks Twitter account was not just run by him, Assange noted, but a “rotating team” of staff members. He also said that some of the alleged messages featured in the story were sent after October 2016, when he famously had his internet access cut off by the Ecuadorian government. During that time, WikiLeaks was publishing emails from the private account of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta, further damaging her disastrous presidential campaign.
- the @WikiLeaks account is run by a rotating staff as has been repeatedly stated over the years: https://t.co/RYrYbLeaNt- basic fact checking would have shown this. another example: the article uses messages from late Oct 2016 when I infamously had no internet access.— Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 14, 2018
Assange also accused The Intercept’s billionaire owner, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, of having a long-running campaign to “neuter Wikileaks.”